Managing Prostate Cancer Costs

The cost of cancer care can be high, and can be a major source of stress and anxiety for cancer patients and their families.

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Once you learn that you have prostate cancer you will be facing many decisions such as choosing your treatment, choosing a physician, and determining how you will pay for the unexpected costs of your care. The financial impact of a cancer diagnosis may be a major source of stress and anxiety for you and your family.

It may be difficult to discuss the cost of cancer treatment with your healthcare team but it is an important aspect of your care, just like getting a proper diagnosis and planning for side effects. Bringing up the topic of cost can cause fear that your healthcare team may see you as a cost liability and delay treatment or offer a less effective treatment. These are common feelings felt by many people diagnosed with cancer. There are resources and support available to help with many costs associated with a cancer diagnosis.

Learn as much as you can about treatment costs, your insurance, and other treatment related expenses. You may find that you are not able to focus on managing this aspect of care. Family and friends always want to help - consider asking someone you trust to manage this aspect of care for you.

Financial toxicity

Financial toxicity is a relatively new term in cancer care today. The phrase refers to the way out-of-pocket expenses can drain the wallets of cancer patients, diminish your quality of life, and in fact, become an adverse event of treatment. For some people, out-of-pocket expenses can be so burdensome that people chose to not fill prescriptions or follow their doctor’s treatment recommendations. Unfortunately, this can have negative effects on your health.

Infographic about managing the costs of prostate cancer

Potential cancer care costs

Take some time to think about the possible types of costs that could add up from treatment. This can help you prepare a budget and determine what sort of support you might need. Your personal costs will depend on several factors, including the type of prostate cancer treatment you choose and your health insurance coverage.

Our partner, Triage Cancer, has developed a medical bill tracker - a tool to help you monitor your healthcare expenses, including copays and deductibles.

There are also other costs to consider. These are the costs of daily living that may be impacted while you are in treatment. If you expect treatment to be completed quickly, you will have different considerations than someone who is planning for long-term treatment for a period of years. Below are some costs to consider.

Doctor appointments

If you have a copay for each visit to the doctor and your visits to the doctor increase, so too will your copayments. The amount of the copay is set by the insurance company, not the doctor’s office. Lab tests and radiology tests may require separate payment. If you find you cannot manage your frequent or costly appointment copays, ask your physician to waive the cost of some of your copays.

Treatments and procedures

There will be costs for procedures and other treatments to fight your cancer. Certain treatments, like radiation therapy, require daily visits for a set time period. While you most likely will not have a copay for each visit, you may be responsible for a portion of the total cost with a fee such as co-insurance. If you are continuing to work through treatment, consider the time away from your job and the potential impact on your paycheck.


Many prostate cancer treatments can come with out-of-pocket copayments. This is seen frequently with drugs that are taken by mouth, oral therapies, and provided by a specialty pharmacy. Fortunately, there are many resources available that can help to offset these costs. Talk with your healthcare team so you can anticipate the cost and how you will manage these new costs.

Living expenses

Added expenses like copays and out of pocket items begin to add up and this can impact the activities you normally do and your household. Consider how much your regular living expenses will be offset by the cost of prostate cancer treatment.

Transportation and travel

Consider the expenses you have from traveling to and from the doctor’s office or treatment facility. Factor in the costs of gas and if applicable, parking. Depending on where you decide to receive treatment, you may also need to pay for lodging away from home.

Employment, legal, and financial issues

These costs may arise if you need professional guidance on employment, legal, or financial issues related to your prostate cancer diagnosis. This may involve addressing loss of wages, learning about employment rights under the law, figuring out medical expenses during income tax filing, or writing a will.

At-home care and long-term care

You may find that you need extra help to care for you while you are sick. Sometimes, a person is hired to fix meals, drive you to medical appointments, or assist with personal care. This could also include extended nursing care at a specialized facility.

Thinking about all of these potential costs may make you feel anxious about the future. However, local and national financial resources or a representative from your doctor’s office and/or health insurance provider may be able to help you better understand these costs.

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ZERO360: Personalized support at your fingertips

ZERO360 is a free, comprehensive service, staffed by case managers who help patients and their families: navigate insurance, find resources to help pay for treatment and living expenses, connect with emotional support services and ensure access to care.