The costs of treating malignant mesothelioma are extremely high; estimates range from $150,000 to over $ 1 million. The most commonly used anti-cancer drugs used to treat malignant mesothelioma are AlimtaÒ and cisplatin. The combined cost of these drugs for one treatment cycle is approximately $4,100; multiple treatment cycles may be required, and a cure is not assured. In fact, even with aggressive treatment, the median survival of a patient after diagnosis with malignant mesothelioma is between one and two years.
Some mesothelioma treatment costs may be covered by health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. However, many people may not have health insurance or be eligible for Medicaid or Medicare. Information on sources of financial assistance can be obtained from the social services units of hospitals, the Cancer Information Network and the American Cancer Society.
When occupational exposure to asbestos can be proven, patients with malignant mesothelioma may be able to seek damages from former employers through lawsuits. While there is a current cap of $1.1 million on the total amount that can be awarded to a single individual in a mesothelioma lawsuit, this cap is considered insufficient by some mesothelioma treatment advocates. They say that better diagnostic tests, combined with the availability of more effective treatment, means more people with malignant mesothelioma are diagnosed at a younger age and live longer. Increased survival is associated with increased treatment costs.
Some novel mesothelioma treatment options are being investigated in clinical trials. These include more affordable options such as immunotherapy, or expensive options such as gene therapy. In gene therapy, specific materials injected into the patient attack the genes in cancer cells, ultimately killing them. A single session of gene therapy may cost between $150,000 and $950,000. Clinical trials may cover some costs of treatment. However, certain trials only enroll people who have been recently diagnosed and who have not begun any other type of treatment.
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