Suggested links

Mesothelioma Patient Timeline & Costs

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

Battling mesothelioma can take a huge emotional toll on a family, but it can also be financially devastating. A study conducted by the Washington National Institute for Wellness Solutions found that 62% of cancer survivors incurred debt as a result of their treatment. How much does it cost to fight mesothelioma? We’ve created a sample mesothelioma cost timeline that details how much a patient could expect to pay from start to finish. Very few people have the amount of money needed, but there are financial and legal resources available for victims of mesothelioma.

Learn more about financial assistance options. The total estimated cost is for the first year of mesothelioma treatment. The prices for medical care and testing used here are for illustrative purposes only and do not represent anyone patient in a specific geographical region. Individual patient’s medical costs will vary – some patients will need more or less treatment, diagnostic testing, or hospitalization and the cost for the same medical services can vary greatly from one medical provider to another.

Get your Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide and learn how 7 patients were able to afford the treatments that helped them outlive their prognosis.

Mesothelioma Survivors Guide
Get Your Free Survivors Guide

7 authentic stories of mesothelioma patients who outlived their prognosis with support from loved ones

Get It Shipped Overnight

Initial Doctor Visit – $75

Patient with mesothelioma symptoms, such as persistent cough, difficulty breathing, and chest pain, visits his or her doctor for an evaluation.

Chest X-ray – $600

A chest X-ray is taken to look for pleural effusion, which is a buildup of fluid between the tissues that line the lungs and chest.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan of Chest – $3,000

Patient undergoes a CT scan to determine the exact location and stage of the cancer. Oral contrast is used to outline intestines and find tumors.

Follow-up Doctor Visit – $75

Results of the CT scan are discussed and thoracentesis, a procedure to remove excess fluid in the pleural space, is scheduled.

Thoracentesis – $2,250

In this diagnostic procedure, fluid is removed and sent to a lab. The removal of the excess fluid should also help the patient breathe more easily.

Follow-up Chest X-ray – $600

After thoracentesis, another chest X-ray is performed to ensure the fluid has been removed and the lung is working properly.

Video-assisted Thoracoscopy (VAT) with Biopsy – $73,000

If cytology reports are inconclusive, the patient is admitted to hospital for a VAT surgery, which removes a sample of lung tissue.

Follow-up Doctor Visit – $75

Patient visits doctor to discuss test results and notes that original symptoms have returned despite the previous procedures that were performed.

Repeat Chest X-ray – $600

Another X-ray of the chest is taken to look for pleural effusion. Pleural effusion is discovered again, and another thoracentesis is scheduled.

Repeat Thoracentesis – $2,250

Excess fluid is drawn out of the lung area again and sent to a lab. Hopefully this allows the patient to breathe more easily again.

Follow-up Chest X-ray – $600

After the repeat thoracentesis, another chest X-ray is performed to ensure the fluid has been removed and the lung is working properly.

Doctor Visit – $75

Patient returns to the doctor due to worsening symptoms that may include trouble breathing, a persistent cough, or chest pain.

Additional Chest X-ray (if necessary) – $600

Doctor performs another chest X-ray and notes pleural effusion again. Due to repeated pleural effusions, tube thoracostomy placement procedure is recommended.

Tube Thoracostomy – $4,500

A tube is inserted into the pleural cavity of the chest to drain all excess fluid that is causing the patient pain and discomfort.

Additional Chest X-ray (if necessary) – $600

Another chest X-ray is performed to ensure all fluid has been removed. Masses in the lung are clearly shown on the X-ray.

Additional CT Scan – $3,000

Patient undergoes another CT scan to determine the exact locations of the masses and possible stage of the cancer.

Specialist Doctor Visit -$400

Patient meets with a specialist to discuss a treatment plan and to schedule a biopsy of the mass found in the lung.

We can help you find mesothelioma specialists near you. Get started by using our Free Doctor Match.

Video-assisted Thoracoscopy (VAT) with Biopsy – $73,000

VAT surgery is performed again to remove a sample of the lung tissue for biopsy.

Multiple X-rays – $500

Many different X-rays are taken of the chest to determine pleural effusion status and ensure the patient is stable post-procedure.

Consultation with Oncologist – $500

Patient meets with an oncologist, a doctor who specializes in cancer diagnosis and treatment, to map out a treatment plan.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan – $5,000

Patient undergoes a PET scan to determine the stage of mesothelioma. Radioactive glucose is injected into the bloodstream, allowing tumors to be shown more clearly.

Vitamin B12 Injection – $100

B12 injections are given because taking certain chemotherapy drugs can result in lack of B12, which causes pernicious anemia (dry skin, fatigue, shortness of breath).

Follow-Up Labs – $100

Before each chemotherapy session, a complete blood count (CBC) test is done to monitor a patient’s general health.

Chemotherapy Begins – $10,000 (Monthly Average)

Patient begins chemotherapy treatment to attack the cancer cells. The cost of chemotherapy depends on the frequency, chemo routine, etc. Prescription drugs may include: Alimta, Gemcitabine, Cisplatin Power, and Carboplatin.

Prescription Charges – Aloxi ($1,000 Monthly Average)

This is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

Prescription Charges – Neulasta ($6,000 Monthly)

This is used to treat neutropenia (lack of white blood cells) caused by chemotherapy.

Repeat B12 Injection – $150

B12 injections are repeated to ensure the patient remains as healthy as possible during chemotherapy treatment.

Fluid Drains – $2,250

If excess fluid begins to accumulate again in the chest, it may need to be drained repeatedly to keep the patient comfortable.

Possible Inpatient Hospitalization – $2,000

Inpatient hospitalizations may be necessary at certain points depending on a patient’s nutrition status (dehydration, severe nausea/vomiting, etc.).

Prescription Charges – Oxycodone ($25 for 100 pills)

This drug is prescribed for pain. The dosage will often increase over time, or it will be combined with other drugs.

Read firsthand accounts of 7 mesothelioma patients who became survivors thanks to treatment and the support of loved ones in your Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide.

Mesothelioma Survivors Guide
Get Your Free Survivors Guide

7 authentic stories of mesothelioma patients who outlived their prognosis with support from loved ones

Get It Shipped Overnight

Resources to Help With Costs

The total estimated cost is based on the average costs for 1 year of mesothelioma treatment. Every patient’s medical costs will vary—some may pay less than average, while others may need additional procedures like a chest MRI ($5,000), an echocardiogram ($800), or a pneumonectomy with a hospital admission ($250,000.)

The one thing that’s for certain? Nothing about battling mesothelioma is inexpensive.

Fighting this disease can create a financial hardship for any family.

Request your Free Mesothelioma Survivors Guide and learn how other families were able to afford life-extending treatments that have given them more time with the people they love.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

Our Promise to You
Our Promise to You
Free 30-Minute ConversationWith Jenna Tozzi, RN
Fill Out Your Contact Information
How We Can Help

Mesothelioma Hope is passionate about helping patients and families affected by this aggressive cancer. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be scary and isolating, but we’re here for you at every step. Hope is only a phone call away.

(866) 608-8933
Medical Guidance
  • Get a second opinion
  • Find a doctor or cancer center
  • Access clinical trials
  • Improve your quality of life
Financial Assistance
  • Access $30 billion in trust funds
  • File a mesothelioma claim
  • Increase your VA benefits
  • Apply for travel grants
Supportive Care
  • Find a support group or peer mentor
  • Get help with daily tasks
  • Explore respite care options
  • Navigate life post-treatment