Cancer Treatment Cost in India
Cancer is the abnormal growth of normal cells in any part of our body, destroying the body’s healthy cells. In fact, people consider it to be the most dangerous disease around the world. But nowadays, with the medical advancements and the various methods invented for early detection and the knowledge about preventive measures for the disease, it is no more a life-threatening or dreadful disease. The treatment of the illness is also primarily available, and hence people are getting better now. Although treatment is available, it is costly.
Doctors decide the exact cost of cancer treatment based on several factors, including the stage and types of cancer, types of treatment required, post-treatment care required, hospital stay, and also many other factors. The prices also change according to different hospitals and doctors. But if we compare the cost of cancer treatment in India with the UK and USA, it is cheaper in India without comprising the treatment quality. With the advancement in technology, all the advanced treatment options are available in India. In fact, there are many hospitals that provide the best cancer treatment in India. This article has compiled all the details regarding cancer treatment cost in India.
On average, the cost of cancer treatment in India ranges from Rs 5,00,000 to Rs 6,00,000 and may cost higher depending upon medicines. However, it is hard to get the exact cost of cancer treatment without knowing various factors affecting it. A top-tier hospital in a major city provides the best and most advanced treatment and care to the patients, it may have higher prices than smaller hospitals. There are many government hospitals that provide best cost of cancer treatment in India. However, they are not expensive too.
The treatment cost also depends on the doctor or surgeon’s experience and qualifications. The experienced surgeon may offer excellent clinical care and outcomes. The length of hospital stay also influences the charge of the treatment. With surgical treatment, the patient might need to stay for 5-7 days at the hospital, but the complete treatment of cancer may take many months.
The most common types of cancer are breast cancer, cervical cancer, oral cancer and lung cancer in Inidia. Among women, the most rampant cancers are breast cancer, cervix cancer and gall bladder cancer, while among males, it is lung cancer and head and neck cancer.
Depending on the spread of cancer, one can grade it into stages 0-4, based on the tumor’s location, size, and also its spread. These stages decide the course of treatment. With the proper treatment, chances of survival are high; with lower cost of treatment, if one detects the cancer early.
Doctor’s consultation charge
• General physician: Rs 500-1,000
• Oncologist: Rs 800-3,000
Screening: This test includes conducting tests regularly to check for cancer before any signs or symptoms appear. These include a wide range of different body parts, such as mammography (breast), Pap test (cervical), colonoscopy (colorectal), dermoscopy (skin), and PSA (prostate-specific c antigen) test (prostate), among others.
Mammography: Rs 1,000-4,000
Pap test: Rs 500-2,500
Colonoscopy: Rs 500-2,500
PSA test: Rs 500-1,000
Biopsy: Doctor conducts a biopsy if he or she cannot find cancer in the screening. In this test, a doctor takes the tissue to test for the presence of cancerous cells. The biopsy cost depends on the type of cancer and the complexity of the biopsy conducted.
Rs 2,000-4,000 (simple)
Rs 8,000-10,000 (complex)
Imaging: Doctors conduct radiology scans for further investigation.
Ultrasound: Rs 500
CT Scan: Rs 1,000-15,000 (depending on body part)
PET CT Scan: Rs 5,000-25,000
MRI: Rs 5,000-12,000
Fitness/blood test: Doctors conduct blood tests to investigate the fitness and strength of the body.
Depending on the cancer stage, different types of treatment such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and targeted/immunotherapy, either individually or in combination, are available. For example, a benign or stage 0-1 cancer can be cured by surgery, but if cancer has reached an advanced stage, it requires radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery. Every type of cancer requires a different set of treatments. And the charge of treatments varies on it.
Surgery: In the Surgical method, the doctor directly removes the cancer from the body. Usually, the main purpose of cancer surgery is to treat cancer by removing all of it from your body. The surgeon usually does this by cutting into your body and removing the cancer along with some surrounding healthy tissue to ensure that all of the cancer is out.
The surgeon may also remove some lymph nodes in the area to determine whether the cancer has spread. This helps your doctor assess the chance of your being better, as well as the need for further treatment.
Surgery: The cost of surgery depends on the affected body part. It may vary from Rs 1 lakh to several lakhs.
Breast cancer: Rs 1-1.5 lakh
Abdominal (pancreas, colon) cancer: Rs 3-4 lakh
Head and neck cancer: Rs 5-6 lakh
Radiation therapy: In radiation therapy, high-energy particles or waves destroy or damage cancerous cells. Radiation therapy is not painful but can cause some side effects. Before starting this therapy, the radiation team keeps your body in a perfect position by making marks on the body and taking image scans. Each treatment continues for around 10 to 30 minutes. Usually, this treatment’s span is over several weeks to give enough time for the healthy cells to recover in between the radiation sessions. This technique uses radiation, high-energy X-rays or other particles to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumours. The cost varies depending on the method used, frequency, stage of cancer, tumor size, location and age of the patient. It may require five times a week for 5-9 weeks.
• Cost per session: Rs 50,000-2.25 lakh
• Total average cost: Rs 2.5 lakh-22 lakh
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy treatment involves using strong chemicals to kill cancerous cells. This therapy is usually the first line of therapy for cancer treatment. It significantly reduces the size of a tumor so that other treatment options, such as radiation or surgery become easier. The chemotherapy drugs can be administered to a patient by chemotherapy infusions, pills, shots, creams, medicines used to treat one part of the body or chemotherapy given directly to cancer.
This is a drug treatment; strong chemicals are used to kill cancer cells in this treatment. Unlike radiation therapy which works in specific parts, chemotherapy can be used on the whole body. It is done in 6-10 cycles, which means each process will have several sessions, after which there is a period of rest. The stage and severity of cancer decide the number of cycles. The cost of treatment depends on the type and stage of cancer, administering drugs, and the hospital where treatment takes place.
Targeted/Immunotherapy: This is again a drug treatment and the most advanced form of therapy, typically used in advanced stages of cancer. It involves using high-cost molecules that are not made in India, targeting specific genes, proteins or tissues. Doctor gives this is again in cycles. The number of cycles is decided by the stage and severity of cancer and can range from 6-12 cycles, or even more in the last stage of cancer.
Cost per cycle: Rs 50, 000 to 5 lakh
Total average cost (10 cycles): Rs 5 to 50 lakh
After the treatment is over, medical care and check-ups are continued for at least 3-5 years. This includes medication, periodic investigative imaging, and rehabilitation, comprising physiotherapy and reconstructive surgery in case of amputations or head and neck cancer.
Follow-up checks include doctor and hospital visits and periodic imaging like ultrasound, CT scans, and MRI.
Rs 10,000-15,000 a year
Chronic maintenance medication: Doctors give this after the therapies or surgeries to reduce the chance of cancer coming back.
Rs 10,000-15,000 a month
Rehabilitation: This can include physiotherapy for 2-3 months and surgery, reconstructive or plastic surgery, after breast removal or limb amputation, etc.