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How Much Does Cancer Treatment Cost?

How Much Does Cancer Treatment Cost?

Cancer is a disease caused by the abnormal enlargement of cells that can develop anywhere in the body. Undiagnosed and untreated cancer can be fatal and it is one of the leading causes of death in the world, accounting for 10 million deaths in 2020 alone. The good news is that there are plenty of treatments that can help fight cancer. What are the types of cancer treatments? What is the typical cancer treatment cost in the Philippines?

Treatments for Cancer

There are several types of cancer treatment in use today. Typical forms of treatments range from surgery to the use of radiation.

Cancer treatments aim to cure cancer and to allow patients to lead normal lives.

If it’s not possible to cure cancer, then the aim of the treatments is to shrink the cancerous growth or to reduce the symptoms as much as possible.

There are three ways that cancer treatments can be used:

  1. Primary treatment is used to remove cancer from the body or to kill the cancer cells. Surgery is the most common form of primary cancer treatment.
  2. After the primary treatment and there are still cancer cells remaining in the body, then adjuvant treatments can be used. The aim of this form of treatment is to kill remaining cancer cells and reduce the risk of cancer from developing again. There is also what’s known as neoadjuvant therapy, which is a treatment applied before the primary treatment.
  3. Palliative treatments are used to lessen the side effects of cancer treatments or for lessening the symptoms caused by cancer. Medications can be used to lessen the pain and other symptoms of cancer.

Treatment Options

As mentioned, there are plenty of cancer treatments in use today. The type of treatment that will be used will depend on several factors like the type of cancer, its stage, and the health condition of the patient. Doctors will weigh the risks and the potential benefits of each treatment option.

Here are some of the cancer treatment options that are commonly used:

  • Surgery is a common primary treatment and is used to remove cancer physically. Although the aim of surgery is to remove as many cancer cells as possible, that doesn’t always happen.
  • Chemotherapy is the use of various drugs to kill cancer cells. Unlike other therapies that work on specific areas of the body, chemotherapy can affect the entire body. This means this treatment can also affect healthy cells.
  • Radiation therapy uses radiation beams like x-rays to kill cancer cells in the body. The radiation can be directed from a machine that is outside the body or it can be a machine that is placed inside the body.
  • The bone marrow is the material that is found inside the bones. The bone marrow makes blood cells. A bone marrow transplant uses material from another person or those from your own bone marrow.

typical cancer treatment cost

A bone marrow transplant will allow doctors to use more intense doses of chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells. This type of transplant can also be used to replace the diseased bone marrow.

  • Immunotherapy is another treatment option. As the name suggests, this form of treatment uses the immune system of the body to fight cancer cells. If the immune system does not recognize the cancer cells as “alien” then they won’t be attacked. Immunotherapy helps the immune system to identify the cancer cells as harmful.
  • Hormone therapy is another treatment used for fighting cancer. Because some types of cancer are caused by an imbalance in hormones. Types of cancer that are caused by hormone imbalance include breast cancer and prostate cancer. By removing the hormones or stopping their effects it is possible to stop the growth of cancer cells.
  • Drug therapy can also be used for treating cancer. These forms of treatment target specific cancer cells to limit their growth.
  • There is also another form of cancer treatment that kills the cancer cells using cold gas. A small needle is inserted through the skin to target cancerous growth. Cold gas is then inserted through the needle to freeze cancer.
  • There is another treatment known as radiofrequency ablation. This form of treatment uses electrical energy to heat and kill the cancer cells.

Typical Cancer Treatment Cost

On top of being a serious disease and a leading cause of death, cancer is also very costly, especially in the Philippines where the government hospitals are not adequately equipped to deal with the disease. Getting treatment from private hospitals can be very costly and is a major drain on resources.

The typical cancer treatment may vary from one hospital to another and it can range from 1000,000 Php to 1,000,000 Php. The price may even go beyond that if prolonged, complex treatment is needed.

The type of cancer is also a determining factor when it comes to the typical treatment cost. Brain cancer treatment, for instance, can cost a minimum of 250,000 Php, while treatment for breast cancer can start at 300,000 Php.

It is important to note that PhilHealth can cover part of the expenses for cancer treatment. For breast cancer, PhilHealth can cover up to 100,000 Php of the treatment cost.

Key Takeaways

The main problem is that the typical cancer treatment cost is beyond the means of an ordinary Filipino family.

But are a lot of cancer treatments available now and there are more support groups and resources online.

Although cancer is still a serious and deadly illness, there are more ways for patients to fight back with the help of their health practitioners and various institutions.

Learn all about cancer causes, prevention, symptoms, and treatment here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Cancer Treatment – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cancer-treatment/about/pac-20393344, July 12, 2021

Cancer, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer, July 14, 2021

Adjuvant therapy, https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/adjuvant-therapy, July 14, 2021

Palliative treatment, https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/palliative, July 15, 2021

PhilHealth, https://www.philhealth.gov.ph/, July 15, 2021

Cancer

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer Accessed July 21, 2021

Adjuvant Therapy

https://www.cancer.gov/publications/dictionaries/cancer-terms/def/adjuvant-therapy

Accessed July 21, 2021

Cancer: Palliative Treatment

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/palliative

Accessed July 21, 2021

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Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos Updated 2 days ago
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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