The cost of prostate cancer treatment is significant and increasing. However, there are several financial aid programs available for people with cancer.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer after skin cancer among males in the United States. It is the second leading cause of cancer death for males in the United States. Several factors affect a person’s prostate cancer treatment options.

The costs of treating prostate cancer are increasing more rapidly than any other type of cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the total projected U.S. national costs for all cancer care in 2020 were $208.9 billion. Prostate cancer costs accounted for 11% of this cost.

This article overviews prostate cancer treatment costs, including out-of-pocket costs. It also discusses how to find financial aid.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

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According to 2023 research published by the American Urological Association, the per-person annual cost for metastatic prostate cancer is $31,427.

Per-person costs have risen over recent years. Researchers noted this increase corresponds to the approval of new oral therapies for metastatic prostate cancer.

Metastatic prostate cancer is cancer that has spread from a person’s prostate to other parts of their body. Localized prostate cancer is cancer that has not spread outside the prostate.

Other researchers investigated localized prostate cancer costs in a 2019 article. Researchers estimated the costs of diagnosis and treatment for localized prostate cancer to the Medicare program.

They found the total cost was between $4,887 and $27,899 for males ages 70 years and over within 3 years of diagnosis. The median, or middle value, cost was $14,453.

Researchers also broke down this cost into median and ranges of costs:

  • Diagnosis and workup: $1,664 ($995–$2,519)
  • Treatment: $10,558 ($1,990–$23,718)
  • Morbidity costs: $81 ($0–$620). Morbidity costs are the cost of lost productivity by people unable to perform their usual activities due to medical conditions.
  • Follow-up: $242 ($90–$552)

Researchers noted the study did not include people with managed care plans.

According to the NCI, the average 2020 estimated per-person annual cost for prostate cancer medical services were:

  • Early stage care: $28,108
  • Continued care: $2,603
  • Care in the last year of a person’s life: $74,227

The NCI also estimated the 2020 annual cost of prostate cancer oral medication:

  • Early stage medication: $312
  • Continued stage medication: $312
  • Medication in the last year of a person’s life: $5,830

Out-of-pocket costs are healthcare expenses not covered by insurance. These expenses can include:

  • prescription drugs
  • provider and outpatient visits
  • emergency room visits
  • hospital inpatient stays

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019 the U.S. national out-of-pocket cost for prostate cancer was $2.26 billion. The annual national patient time cost in 2019 for prostate cancer was $1.04 billion.

The cost to a person receiving prostate cancer treatment includes:

  • Premiums: the amount a person pays their health insurance provider each month
  • Deductibles: how much a person spends on health services before their insurance pays the cost
  • Copay: payments a person makes to their healthcare professional each time they receive medical care
  • Out-of-network costs: payments a person makes if they receive healthcare not covered by their insurance provider

According to a 2019 article, the typical cost of treatment for a person with prostate cancer is $2,800 per month after their diagnosis. Most of this cost comes from surgery, followed by office visits.

The article also estimated annual costs for a person in the first year after their diagnosis:

  • Gross payments: $33,607
  • Copayments: $384
  • Deductibles: $748
  • Total: $34,739

Insurance, managed care, or public health programs may pay most of the direct costs of a person’s prostate cancer treatment. A person’s health insurance may not cover the indirect costs of treatment.

Several programs may be able to provide financial aid for people with cancer. The American Cancer Society lists aid programs and resources for cancer-related expenses, including help with:

  • short-term housing near cancer treatment centers
  • transportation costs
  • caregiver expenses
  • housing or mortgage costs when a person has cancer
  • food costs
  • internet expenses
  • dental care expenses
  • other expenses

People with cancer and limited income or resources may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The SSI program pays a monthly benefit for basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing.

People with cancer may be able to obtain SSI more quickly. The American Cancer Society provides more information on the SSI program.

The American Cancer Society also provides information on several other programs that may help people pay for prescription drugs.

The following are some questions people frequently ask about the cost of prostate cancer treatment.

Is prostate cancer treatment covered by insurance?

Most health insurance policies typically cover standard prostate cancer treatments. A person’s insurance may not cover some newer treatments.

How long can a male live with prostate cancer with treatment?

How long a person can live with prostate cancer with treatment depends on:

  • their age and overall health
  • the stage and grade of their prostate cancer
  • their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels
  • how well their cancer responds to treatment

However, most people with prostate cancer have a typical life expectancy.

What is the annual cost of prostate cancer?

The NCI estimated the projected U.S. annual prostate cancer treatment cost to be $22.3 billion in 2020.

The overall cost of prostate cancer treatment is significant and increasing more than any other kind of cancer. The typical monthly cost of prostate cancer treatment per person was $2,800 in 2019.

Prostate cancer treatment options and costs vary depending on whether a person’s cancer has spread or is localized. Most health insurance plans cover standard prostate cancer treatments.

Most people with prostate cancer treatment have a typical life expectancy. Many financial aid programs for people needing help with the cost of their prostate cancer treatment are available.