The High Costs of Treating Prostate Cancer

The High Costs of Treating Prostate Cancer

ProstateCancerInfographic1Getting any cancer is a terrible thing, but getting prostate cancer is one of the worst. One of the main reasons why the cancer is so bad is that until the cancer spreads or advances, you don’t usually feel any symptoms or have any signs that something is wrong. You may begin to feel some pain as you go through your day, but it isn’t until the pain becomes severe that you may finally see a doctor. One of the worst things about knowing you have prostate cancer after the fact is the cost of fighting it. There are various treatment medications to fight the cancer, but all are costly. What are some of the most popular prostate cancer treatments, how do they work, and what will they cost?

Provenge

Provenge is a blood treatment method that is meant to help you fight the cancerous cells by using your own immune system. For many, this is their final attempt to fight prostate cancer after other therapies and treatments were unable to rid the body of cancer. The way it works is simple. You will get your immune cells removed your body and treated with Provenge. The blood is then infused back into your body and after being treated; your cells should be able to attack the dangerous cancerous cells. The treatment consists of three cycles of two visits. Within each cycle, you will get your blood drawn from your body and then infused back. The cost of Provenge is a staggering figure, as these six visits to the doctor will cost roughly $93,000 before the cost of traveling, lodging and other expenses. Provenge is covered by Medicare and because of that, would be covered by most health insurance policies. Dendreon, the company that produces Provenge has a plan in place for those on the drug to help pay their expenses.

Xtandi

Xtandi is used by those with prostate cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Xtandi is a treatment method you take orally and is considered an androgen receptor inhibitor that works by killing cells and reducing the size of tumors. There have been studies that have shown that the medication works by interfering with testosterone and other receptors on the actual prostate cells. It has also been proven to interfere with cancer growth by stopping the hormone receptors in your body from communicating with the prostate cancer cells. Xtandi isn’t a one month treatment that will help improve your way of life. This hormone treatment method is done for eight months, but for the most part, at home. At a cost of roughly $7,500, at the completion of the treatment, you are looking at a price tag of more than $60,000. Like with Provenge, costs can be offset by Medicare and most health insurance companies and the parent company of the drug also has a program to help you pay your bills.

Zytiga

Of all the medicinal treatment options for anyone with advanced prostate cancer, Zytiga is one of the most affordable. Not only is it cheaper than other medications, it is also works to treat the cancer differently than most. What Zytiga does is reduce the amount of testosterone being produced from three different sources. The testosterone production is limited in the adrenal glands, the prostate tumor, and the testes. This is another oral treatment method with one pill being consumed each day along with prednisone, a steroid that is taken two times each day. The technical way in which this medication works is by attacking the protein CYP17A1, otherwise known as cytochrome P450 17A1. This protein is a major part internally for testosterone production and by attacking it, helps increase your chance of ridding your body of the cancer. To use this treatment method, you are looking at paying only about $5,000 per month. The treatment is for eight months, so in the end, you are paying out $40,000 before paying any additional expenses such as lodging, co-pays, and deductibles.

Xofigo

Just like most of the treatment options to help rid your body of prostate cancer, Xofigo is another expensive treatment that you can try. Xofigo is one of many treatment options those with hormone-resistant prostate cancer can use. One difference between Xofigo and Provenge or Xtandi is that it can only be used by those whose cancer has spread to bones only and not to any vital organs. This is not an oral treatment method, so you will have to be alright with getting injected six times during a four week period. The injection contains radium, which is a heavy metal that delivers radiation directly to the bone tumors in your body. What this does is damage the tissues around the bone, increasing the chances of killing the cancerous cells. If this treatment method is prescribed as your best chance to fight advanced prostate cancer, you are looking at a price tag of close to $70,000 for the complete treatment, excluding other medical fees, traveling, and deductibles. This medication is relatively new, so you should speak to someone within your health insurance company before taking on this treatment. It should be covered like the other medications, but it is better to know beforehand.

Surgery

If no other treatment method works for you in your fight with prostate cancer, you can also get surgery to remove the cancerous cells. The surgery can only be performed once and only works if the cancer hasn’t spread outside of the prostate gland. The technical term for the procedure is called radical prostatectomy. This procedure can be done multiple different ways, but essentially, all the surgeon is doing is removing the entire prostate gland, tissue surrounding the gland, as well as the seminal vesicles.  When it comes to the cost of the procedure, much like with most procedures conducted at hospitals, you are looking at a high price tag. According to Robotic Oncology, the median cost of robotic prostate removal surgery is more than $7,500, while prostate removal surgery has a median cost of nearly $9,000. These prices don’t include other hospital bills that normally come with it.

 

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