Cost of Cancer Treatment in India
India is among a few affordable destinations of the world for cancer treatment. Recently, it has witnessed a surge in the international patients from the U.S., UK, Africa, UAE, SriLanka, Bangladesh, Mauritius etc., coming here for procedures like cancer surgery and chemotherapy. The reason being although one of the expensive treatments, in India cancer treatment is still very economical compared to developed countries. The treatment in India is at par with developed nations available almost one-tenth of what it would be in the U.S. or UK. We all know that cancer treatment expenses are extremely high. Once diagnosed, it is better to understand your treatment costs so as to plan your finances and make well-informed decisions.
To begin with, you should be acquainted with below before starting the treatment:
- No two cancer types have same treatment approach. For some type of cancers, oncologists use radiation therapy only as a treatment approach while some other cancer types are treated through the combination of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or immunotherapy. Thus, accordingly the expenses vary.
- A cancer diagnosed early in first or second stage can be cured completely at comparatively lower cost than the third or advanced stage cancer that would cost you much higher.
- The cancer treatment approach depends upon the patient’s age and medical history, which influences the cost.
Also read: Best Cancer Hospitals in India
Cost varies with Indian cities
The cost of cancer treatment varies with each location and hospital even within the same geographical region. In India, cost in metro cities is higher due to extra taxes levied on the machines, implants, and equipment etc. Bangalore and Chennai are deemed to be on higher side of the cost while cities like Kolkata and Ahmedabad come up as low-cost destinations.
The cancer cure cost in different cities depends on:
- Infrastructure of hospitals
- Room facility (general, twin sharing, deluxe etc.)
- Techniques and the machines used
- Common cancer tests and investigations cost
- Surgeon and other doctors’ fee/ follow-up visits
- Cost of living at the geographical location
The other treatment variability factors are:
- Drugs (Indian manufactured or imported medicines)
- Cancer surgery: Not required in all cancer cases. Some are treated through drug therapy only
- Chemotherapy: Type of chemotherapy performed (standard chemotherapy, traditional chemotherapy, or cytotoxic chemotherapy) and number of sessions per cycle.
- Radiation therapies: Type (Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), Systemic radiation therapy, Radioimmuno therapy, Radiosensitizers or radioprotectors) and the frequency of the radiation therapy given purely based on medical condition. Over half of the cancer treatment expenses go in radiotherapy.
Common cancer procedures costs
In India, a second stage cancer patient spends US$3,000 for IMRT (Intensity-modulated radiation therapy) while a third stage patient might have to shell out an additional US$1,550 for chemotherapy. With so much of variable factors in cancer treatment, we will give over here an approximate estimate of some common procedures which may help you to gauge approximate expense. For more specifics, you can discuss with us.
- Cost of Chemotherapy: Cost per cycle may start from US$930 and go up to over US$15,000 depending upon drugs and doses, type of cancer and patient’s medical condition
- Targeted therapy: Five to six sessions would cost approximately US$31,000
- Radiation therapy: Over US$2,400 per cycle
- A head and neck cancer surgery: Over US$5,500
- Total Mastectomy: About US$4400
- Breast cancer Lumpectomy: About US$3,800
- Evaluation tests such as PET-CT scan, FNAC, Biopsy etc: About US$2,500
Cancer treatment cost for international patients
As an international patient your spent would be somewhere about 60-70% more than Indian counterparts for the whole process which would be still far less than the spent for a cancer surgery in the U.S. or Europe. For example, a total mastectomy that costs approximately US$22,000 in the U.S. would cost you about US$4,400 in India, without compromising on quality. As an international patient, you have to also include the cost of traveling, hotel / guest house stay, and food too in your cancer treatment budget.
Insurance cover for cancer treatment
Cancer treatment is expensive and most of us are not in a position to take that financial challenge, especially if there is no insurance cover. Many public and private insurance companies cover cancer treatment under insurance. Even though partly, insurance would be a relief from the huge expenditure. Hence, if luckily you have an insurance cover, discuss with your insurance company well before you decide on hospital and treatment.
Since cost is a big factor in decision making for undergoing cancer treatment and some hospitals may keep it deliberately confusing, you may discuss with us and get more clarity on that too. MedGurus offers you complete guidance on hospitals based on your specific medical case and budget.