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Mesothelioma: rare cancer yet a costly one!

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on June 25th, 2020

A diagnosis of mesothelioma is devastating news for both the patients as well as their families as it carries very high financial and emotional costs. With only 3,300 new cases of mesothelioma being diagnosed each year, this asbestos-related disease is rare. The treatment costs are often high and may range from thousands to millions of dollars.

As mesothelioma is an aggressive type of cancer, the treatment for it involves a range of quite expensive prescription medicines, surgical procedures, and palliative measures. On average, the mesothelioma treatment cost including chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery may be $11,000-$12,000 a month. The mesothelioma treatment costs pile up swiftly totaling up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, the medical costs alone can sometimes reach more than a million dollars!

Mesothelioma treatment costs starting from the time of diagnosis through post-treatment care

The costs that a person with mesothelioma will have to bear are not limited to the type of treatment but also includes treatment-related travel and accommodations too.

The costs of treatment such as chemotherapy and surgery are termed primary costs whereas travel costs, interest on the debt, and lost wages are called secondary expenses.

A variety of factors influence the treatment cost of mesothelioma and include the following:

  • Patient's age
  • The general health of the patient
  • Location and cell type of the tumor
  • Stage of the cancer
  • Whether there is a spread of cancer or not
  • Treatment center/health care provider chosen
  • Patient's treatment plan
  • Insurance coverage

In the majority of cases, the diagnostic tests and the primary treatments to fight mesothelioma take away the largest portion of the treatment costs. Diagnostic test costs for mesothelioma are high because misdiagnosis is quite common with this type of cancer and generally multiple tests are performed to ensure an accurate diagnosis, establish the cell type, and staging. Here are the different mesothelioma diagnostic and therapy cost estimates:

Imaging tests:

  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: $800 per scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: $2,800 per scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: $1,600 per scan

Biopsy

  • Needle biopsy (fine needle aspiration, thoracentesis, paracentesis, pericardiocentesis): $700
  • Minimally invasive technique (thoracoscopy/pleuroscopy, laparoscopy): $5,000
  • Open surgical method: $8,000

Once a mesothelioma diagnosis is confirmed, a treatment plan will be established and the costs will get accumulated throughout the treatment and after. Here are the potential costs of different treatment modalities:

Treatment

  • Chemotherapy: $50,000 per course
  • Radiation Therapy: $12,000 per treatment
  • Surgery (lobectomy/pneumonectomy): $20,000- $30,000

In addition to the treatment costs, most of the patients with mesothelioma and their families bear additional expenses related to their treatment plan, and the amount varies from one person to another. However, here is a list of most likely secondary costs of mesothelioma treatment:

  • Travel-related costs: This will include the cost of transportation to and from the cancer treatment center, accommodation cost if treatment is far away from your home, and food costs while on travel. Often, patients with mesothelioma require experienced care from a doctor specialized in treating mesothelioma.
  • Follow-up care costs: This includes costs of ongoing check-up visits to primary care physicians and specialist doctors, regular prescription medications, screening and tests for checking cancer recurrence, and psychological/emotional care.
  • Financial costs: This includes lost wages due to the inability to work during treatment and the interests on debts or loans availed to pay for medical treatment.

Seeking legal compensation helps recover mesothelioma treatment costs

Often, patients with mesothelioma and their families run out of their financial resources because of which they will be unable to afford all their prescriptions and tend to be stressed out.

Mesothelioma develops solely as a result of prolonged asbestos exposure at the workplace, mostly due to the negligence of the employers. It is unfair on the part of the victims to bear all the costs of their mesothelioma treatment. Therefore, former workers who have developed mesothelioma and their family members can file a claim and seek financial compensation from asbestos trust funds. Most companies that are liable for asbestos exposure claims have set up asbestos trust funds from which victims of asbestos-related diseases can collect their compensation.

If you have been exposed to asbestos on your job previously or have received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, get in touch with our experienced mesothelioma lawyers who can help you with your claims and to receive the maximum amount of compensation. If you are a military veteran, you are eligible for veterans' benefits, and we can help you file a VA claim and receive your well-deserved compensation.