Lung Cancer Costs


Written by: Costnip Team

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Lung cancer starts when cells in the lungs grow out of control and form tumors. It begins in the lungs and may spread to lymph nodes or other organs in the body. There are two major types:


  • Non-small cell lung cancer - Most common type, accounting for 84% of cases. Tends to grow and spread slowly.
  • Small cell lung cancer - More aggressive and likely to spread to other parts of the body. Accounts for 10-15% of cases.


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Major risk factors include smoking, secondhand smoke, radon gas exposure, and family history. Lung cancer often doesn’t cause signs and symptoms until it has spread. Screening is recommended for high risk individuals. Here are common medical services and estimated costs for lung cancer:


Lung Cancer Average Cost
Chest X-ray $100-$1,000 
CT scan  $1,000-$5,000
Biopsy  $1,000-$7,000
PET scan $2,000-$6,000 
Surgery $20,000-$100,000
Heart TransplantChemotherapy $30,000-$150,000 
Radiation Therapy $35,000-$100,000 
Targeted Therapy Drugs $7,000 per month


  • For early-stage lung cancer diagnosed through screening, the lifetime cost of treatment is approximately $100,000 on average.
  • For lung cancer diagnosed at stage 3-4 with spread to lymph nodes or other organs, the lifetime cost increases to $200,000-$300,000 on average.
  • For small cell lung cancer which progresses and spreads quickly, lifetime costs average around $350,000.
  • Lifetime costs for lung cancer diagnosed at stage 1 are estimated at $150,000 compared to $300,000 when diagnosed at stage 4.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses in the first 2 years average around $12,000-$14,000.
  • Lost productivity and wages for lung cancer patients is estimated at $14,000-$21,000 over a lifetime.
  • End of life care in the last 5 years of life averages around $65,000 for lung cancer patients.
  • Overall, the lifetime cost of lung cancer treatment can range from $100,000 for early detection to over $400,000 for extensive treatment of advanced disease


Costs vary significantly based on the type and stage of lung cancer and the individual's treatment path. But lung cancer commonly costs $100,000 to $300,000+ over the diagnosis, treatment, and end-of-life care stages. Having insurance and adhering to screening guidelines for high-risk individuals can promote early detection and better outcomes. Check out the Costnip Resource Library to find help with some associated costs.


Find out about Breast Cancer costs here