Article at a Glance
- The cost of skin cancer reconstruction surgery and treatment depends on the type of skin cancer a patient has.
- Reconstruction surgery is typically more costly than topical therapies, photodynamic therapy, or cryotherapy.
- In-hospital surgeries are generally more expensive than outpatient treatments. Your insurance company may not cover all the bills, but your doctor can advise you on financial aid programs for patients who cannot afford treatment.
- Other factors that could impact the cost of your treatment include your location, your doctor’s charges, and your insurance deductibles and copays.
- It might be hard to predict the overall cost of your skin cancer reconstruction surgery, but you aren’t alone; there’s help if you need it.
Treating cancer can be a serious procedure. It is emotionally exhausting and draining and can also put a financial strain on patients and their families. Skin cancer reconstruction surgery treats patients who may have developed skin lesions from a former skin cancer condition.
These procedures often lead to removing unhealthy cells and forming new, healthy skin, restoring its form and function. However, like all medical procedures, there is a cost. You should be aware of this cost before planning this surgery.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, with over 5 million cases diagnosed yearly. More than 90% of these cases are due to non-melanoma forms of skin cancer, which rarely spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma is far more dangerous but accounts for less than 10% of all skin cancers.
The risk of skin cancer increases with age and the number of previous benign skin tumors or a personal history of melanoma.
How Much Does the Removal of Skin Cancer Cost?
Skin cancer reconstruction surgery can cost anywhere from $100 to several thousand.
Here we explore these various factors to help you make an informed decision.
Factors Determining the Cost of Reconstructive Surgery
Type of Skin Cancer
The skin cancer you have will also determine the treatment cost and overall cost. If you’re thinking about having skin cancer reconstruction surgery, the type of skin cancer you have will also determine the skin resurfacing cost.
Basal and squamous cell cancer may cost less to treat than melanoma. These are the most common types of skin cancers. They usually occur in areas of the body that receive a lot of sun exposure, such as your face, scalp, nose, or ears.
These cancers are more likely to grow and spread quickly if left untreated. Melanoma is less common than basal and squamous cell cancers, but it is more serious because it can spread quickly through your lymphatic system and other parts of your body.
Type of Treatment for Removing the Cancer
There are various types of treatments for removing skin cancer. These treatments and procedures depend on the type of cancer a patient has suffered. They include:
If you’ve had skin cancer, one of the treatment options available to you is topical prescription medications, such as anti-cancer lotions, creams, and ointments. These treatments treat non-cancerous growths, superficial basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma cancers.
If you’re worried about the cost, don’t be! These medicines are easy to apply and cost from $300 to $600.
This topical therapy can cost several hundred dollars. It is best for treating premalignant or precancerous growths that doctors deem won’t turn cancerous.
If you’ve had basal or squamous cell cancer, cryosurgery may be the right treatment option for you. This procedure uses liquid nitrogen to freeze cancer cells and is entirely non-invasive.
The cost ranges from $100 to several hundred dollars and will vary depending on how many procedures you need.
This type of skin cancer reconstruction surgery is for melanoma, squamous, or basal cell carcinomas on the arms or legs. The surgeon excises the cancerous and some normal tissues before closing the excision with stitches.
The surgery may leave a scar that doctors can’t surgically remove. The cost will depend on the excision size and can reach several thousand dollars.
Mohs surgery (Mohs micrographic surgery or MMS) is the most effective treatment for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), a form of skin cancer.
Reconstructive surgeons remove the cancerous and surrounding tissue and then check the healthy tissue under a microscope to ensure they have removed all cancer. If any cancer remains, the doctors remove more tissue until it’s gone.
The average cost for Mohs surgery is $1,000-$2,000, depending on whether you have insurance coverage or Medicare/Medicaid benefits.
Where you live may also impact how much skin cancer reconstruction surgery costs, in addition to other factors such as whether or not you have insurance coverage. In some cases, doctors may offer discounts if they know that patients cannot afford their services or when working with patients who do not have insurance.
It’s also important to know that the cost of treatment may vary depending on your state. Treatment in California may cost more than treatment in Missouri or Ohio. The best way to determine how much a specific procedure will cost is by contacting a doctor directly.
Your Doctor’s Charges
Your doctor’s charges also determine skin cancer reconstructive surgery. Some doctors charge more based on their location and experience, while others may charge less. You may be able to negotiate a lower price with your doctor if you have insurance coverage for skin cancer reconstruction surgery. You should also ask your doctor if they perform the procedure frequently and whether they have any discounts for repeat patients.
Type of Insurance Coverage (Deductibles and Copays)
If you have skin cancer and need surgery, your insurance coverage may also determine the cost of reconstructive surgery.
A high-deductible insurance plan or no insurance at all likely means you’ll be paying more out-of-pocket for the surgery. However, if you have a traditional health insurance plan through your employer or the state or federal government, your employer may pay for part of this cost if they offer health benefits.
In addition to your deductible, you should consider any copayments that apply to skin cancer removal procedures. These copays are typically between $20 and $50 per visit and may vary based on the procedure.
Outpatient vs. Inpatient Treatment
In general, the more time and staff involved in your treatment, the higher the cost will be.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that an outpatient procedure is less expensive than one that requires hospital admission—it’s just that they tend to be less costly than their counterpart in terms of dollars per hour spent on the procedure itself.
There are many factors affecting the price of hospital treatment, including The hospital where you receive care
1. The type of procedure(s) you undergo
2. Anesthesia fees
3. Surgeon’s fees
4. Whether or not there are additional procedures like radiation therapy or chemotherapy in the treatment
What to Consider When Shopping for Skin Cancer Reconstruction Surgery
Skin cancer treatment can be a stressful experience. There are so many options, and each comes with its own pros and cons.
When you’re ready for skin cancer removal surgery, it’s important to remember that the surgeon’s experience and your comfort with them are just as necessary as the final cost of the surgery.
The American Society of Dermatologic Surgery offers a free physician finder service to help you find specialists near you. Once you’ve seen a few surgeons in your area who seem like good fits, it’s time to start scheduling consultations. You’ll want at least two consultations before choosing your surgeon. This way, you’ll be able to compare notes on how each doctor interacts with patients, their approach to treatment options, and their experience level with various procedures.
Don’t forget: It’s perfectly fine if one doctor charges more than another. (In fact, we recommend asking about prices upfront.) Price should never be the final determining factor.
The National Cancer Institute offers a patient guide to coping with skin cancer to help you understand the different treatment options and make an informed decision.
Contact a Reputable Surgeon For More Information
If you have skin cancer, the first thing to do is head to your doctor and make sure it’s what they think it is. Then, if it is, you’ll need to consider treatment options. One of those options is skin cancer reconstruction surgery—removing any scarring from previous treatments and creating a new, smooth surface for your skin.
Your doctor will help you understand your options and the possible outcomes of treatment.
If you are uninsured or have limited coverage, you may qualify for assistance through government programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. If this is the case, talk with your doctor about how to apply for coverage.
If you do not qualify for government assistance, talk with your doctor about payment options. There may be ways to work out a payment plan that works for both of you. Whatever your financial circumstances, help is available.