The Cost of Cancer

Cancer isn’t cheap.

I received the last of my Explanation of Benefits statements covering my salvage radiation therapy (SRT) with concurrent androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). You know me. For grins and giggles, I had to play with the numbers.


Radical Prostatectomy
and post-surgery infection
(January 2011)
Salvage Radiation Therapy
(incl. 6-month Eligard dose)
(May-August 2022)

Those numbers do not include all of the doctor visits and PSA tests from diagnosis to today—just the surgery and SRT/ADT.

For the radical prostatectomy and the subsequent infection hospitalization, that’s what the hospital and doctors billed my employer-provided health insurance company. Of course, the insurance company didn’t pay the hospital the full amount, and I had some copay responsibilities to the tune of $4,372 as well.

For the SRT/ADT, the “Billed” number is what USCD has billed the VA for my treatment. Each zapping session was billed at $3,894. (My radiation oncologist had no idea it was that expensive. As a university employee, he’s not involved in billing.) It appears that the VA is reimbursing UCSD at a rate of somewhere between 10% and 15% of the billed costs.

Coincidentally, I came across this article about the costs of ADT: It cost $38,398 for a single shot of a very old cancer drug. My Eligard shot was billed at $10,835. What a deal! <sarcasm font>

Of course, the emotional cost of cancer is incalculable.

Moral of the story: Don’t get sick without health insurance.

Header Image: Sunset over the Pacific Ocean, Silver Strand State Beach, Coronado, California

Cost of Cancer Drugs

I came across this article on one of my social media feeds and I thought it worthy of sharing. It’s a sorry indictment of where we stand in healthcare and pharmaceutical costs in the United States and the impact those high costs have on patients who are already struggling emotionally as they battle their cancer. (I’m afraid, of course, this will only get worse under Trumpcare if it’s enacted).

Sticker Shock Forces Thousands Of Cancer Patients To Skip Drugs, Skimp On Treatment