Breast Cancer Costs


Written by: Costnip Team

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Breast cancer begins when cells in the breast start to grow out of control, forming a tumor. These cancerous cells can invade nearby tissue and spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women behind only skin cancers. There are several key types:


  • Ductal carcinoma - Starts in the milk ducts and is the most common kind.
  • Lobular carcinoma - Starts in the breast lobules that produce milk.
  • Inflammatory breast cancer - Grows quickly in the lymph vessels of the skin.
  • Metastatic breast cancer - Spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body.


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Risk factors include being female, aging, genetic mutations, family history, menstrual history, alcohol use, and weight. But many cases occur in women without any risk factors. Early detection through mammograms and treatment are crucial. Here are typical medical services and estimated costs:


Breast Cancer Average Cost
Mammogram $100-$200
Breast biopsy $1,000-$6,000
Breast MRI $700-$5,000
Surgery (lumpectomy) $10,000-$23,000
Radiation $20,000-$40,000
Chemotherapy $10,000-$100,000
Hormone therapy$1,000-$10,000 per month


  • For early-stage breast cancer detected through mammogram screening, the average lifetime cost of treatment is estimated to be around $20,000.
  • For more advanced breast cancer diagnosed symptomatically at stage 2-3, lifetime costs rise to approximately $60,000 on average.
  • For metastatic breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, the lifetime cost of treatment is estimated between $130,000 - $210,000 on average.
  • Women diagnosed before age 65 have higher lifetime costs, averaging around $117,000 compared to $93,000 for those diagnosed after 65.
  • Younger women require more aggressive treatment which is costlier, and have medical costs over a longer period of time.
  • Out-of-pocket costs for breast cancer patients are estimated around $8,200 within the first 2 years after diagnosis.
  • Indirect costs due to lost productivity are estimated around $14,000 over a lifetime.


Costs vary based on the type and stage of breast cancer, treatment plan, and insurance coverage. But cancer can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up care. Having insurance and adhering to screening guidelines is important for early detection and better outcomes. Check out the Costnip Resource Library to find help with some associated costs.