Melanoma is a malignant neoplasm that localizes on the skin in 90% of cases. That is why it is usually called skin cancer (or cutaneous melanoma). Melanoma can be simply confused with benign moles, so people hesitate to see a doctor that leads to the growth of melanoma and metastatic spread to the lymph nodes and other organs. Skin cancer can occur at any age, independent of human sex or nationality. However, whites experience melanoma incidence 20 times more often than blacks. Also, skin cancer is more common in men rather than in women.

The best way is to detect cutaneous melanoma at the early stages. In this case, a patient will receive more effective treatment paying 2-10 times less compared to a case when it is necessary to cure metastatic melanoma stage IV.

In this article, we will consider the main diagnostic and treatment options for skin cancer, where to treat it if a diagnosis is confirmed, the therapy costs of melanoma, and how to arrange a medical trip to the best clinic fast and safely.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options by Stage

The first step within skin cancer diagnosis is a dermatologist's or an oncologist's survey. For a diagnosis establishment, doctors use such methods to determine the nature of a neoplasm:


  • dermatoscopy
  • biopsy, or histological analysis.

A doctor usually removes an entire neoplasm or suspicious mole and some healthy surrounding tissues to provide the analysis. Then, a tissue sample is sent to the laboratory. The cost of melanoma diagnostics ranges between $3,000-$6,000.

If the melanoma diagnosis is confirmed, further treatment tactics are developed. For skin cancer stage I, the removal of a lesion is usually enough for patients to completely cure of. A patient just needs to undergo a systematic review of analysis, regular check-ups, and avoid direct sunlight.

However, patients with advanced melanoma need a more complex approach. According to the cost effectiveness analysis, the price of metastatic melanoma treating is higher compared to earlier stages. Let's consider the therapeutic options for skin cancer by stages.

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Melanoma Stage 0,I

Treating skin cancer stage 0, I show up to 99% 5-year survival rate and guarantees a patient the lowest costs of melanoma treatment. Usually, only a removal of the neoplasm is performed, and no additional therapies are needed. Die to this fact, it is essential to undergo self-diagnostics and regular check-ups to detect cancer at the initial stages.

Melanoma Stage II

The wide removal of melanoma is usually conducted. Then, a doctor recommends doing a lymph node biopsy. In the case metastases are detected in the lymph nodes, the affected ones are also resected. If there is no metastatic spread, no extra treatment except surgery is needed. At this stage, the costs of treating skin cancer still remain low.

Melanoma treatment

Melanoma Stage III

Patients with stage III experience the wide excision of a tumor and affected lymph nodes. Then, depending on a clinic and available treatment options, targeted or radiation therapies are introduced to kill metastases. Some other treatments like chemotherapy, immunotherapy can also be applied. The medical costs increase several times compared to stages I and II.

Melanoma Stage IV

In the case of advanced cutaneous melanoma, metastases have spread to distinct organ and lymph nodes. All options are applied for skin cancer stage III taking place for stage IV. However, some metastases can be resected in the internal organs. Advanced melanoma is difficult to cure, so cancer patients can participate in clinical trials to increase their chances for recovery. The costs of treating malignant melanoma at this stage are high because it requires new therapies, modern equipment, and special skills from a doctor.

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Costs of Melanoma Treatment

The treatment costs for melanoma depend on the cancer stage and the country where the therapy is conducted. For instance, diagnostics plus surgical removal of melanoma costs starts from $11,000 in Turkey and about $15,000-$26,000 in Israel. The direct cost of treating a patient can receive after complete diagnosis and determination of effective therapeutic options.

Usually, the health care insurance covers some expenses distributing some money per patient. However, the coverage can be not enough, and it takes time (sometimes months) to wait in a queue for receiving treatment.

Let’s consider more precisely what factors determine the total cost of skin cancer treatment:


  • disease stage. The more advanced melanoma stage is, the more treatment options are applied. As a consequence, the total cost may increase by several times. For instance, the costs of melanoma surgery range between $5,000-$15,000, depending on the country and the cancer hospital. But if a cancer patient needs some targeted, chemo- or radiation therapy, this price can be multiplied by ten times. Due to this, many countries provide social cancer prevention campaigns to force people to get an in-time diagnosis to start treatment at the initial clinical stages. This approach shortens much the economic burden of melanoma.
  • the country for treatment. The melanoma medical costs for treatment vary from country to country. Every state has its own price policy that impacts the costs within the region. So, you can find more affordable cancer treatment in Turkish hospitals, where prices are 2-4 times lower than in the USA or Western Europe. German, Spanish, Italian, and Israeli facilities provide malignant melanoma treatment more expensively. Also, take into account the costs associated with accommodation, meals, and transport in the country where you are going to experience skin cancer treatment. These charges may increase the total cost of therapy significantly.
  • the hospital. The cost of treating cutaneous melanoma may differ depending on the hospital and its type. Usually, private medical centers require higher prices for treatment and care costs than some national cancer institute, for instance. Also, the board-certified doctors with vast experience can ask for higher fees, which is reflected in the total cost of treatment.
  • extra services. Melanoma patients who undergo treatment overseas must allocate the budget properly, taking into account that they need to pay for some services, accommodation, meals. These care costs must be included in the budget to make you feel comfortable during the treatment.

The total costs of melanoma treatment depend on many factors. It is possible to calculate the final costs of melanoma treatment only after an accurate diagnosis and decision where you are willing to undergo the therapy. You can compare some melanoma treatment costs here and decide which place is preferable for you to receive medical help.

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Where to Treat Melanoma: Choosing the Best Clinic

When a patient hears a cutaneous malignant melanoma diagnosis, it is usually stressful: a person does not know what to do and where to go. But such a situation requires calmness and making decisions fast. Especially, it concerns cases when metastatic melanoma stage III or IV is diagnosed. In this situation, it is necessary to look for medical centers that have advanced treating technologies on their premises and conduct clinical trials. Even if they are located beyond your country’s borders. The medical facilities with a weak health care system, outdated equipment, and treatment schemes can hardly be helpful in treating metastatic skin cancer.

Due to this, the most suitable option is to consider the treatment of melanoma outside the country of residence. Luckily, there are hundreds of global hospitals where you can combine cost-effectiveness with advanced therapies. According to Bookimed patients’ feedback, such medical centers are based in Turkey, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc. To choose the best hospital in your case, take into account such factors:


  • location. It is better to pick a medical center that is easily reached by plane or other transport. Especially if a person feels unwell or experiences treatment side effects, it can be difficult to take a long way to a hospital or back home.
  • price policy. Expensive or cheap melanoma treatment costs do not ring any bells. You can receive the same effective treatment in Turkey or the USA, but the price will significantly differ. It is better to pay attention to whether the therapy you need is available in a particular hospital.
  • certificates. Pay special attention, whether the medical center has international recognition and meets the world’s cancer treatment standards. The most common accreditations for hospitals are from such organizations as JCI, ISO, American Cancer Society, European Society for Medical Oncology, etc.
  • doctors’ experience. The right choice of a doctor who will manage the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous melanoma is the most crucial step to a successful outcome. An oncologist must have vast experience in cases of melanoma to select the most efficient diagnosis and treatment plan.

However, it can take some time to compare estimated overall costs of melanoma skin cancer treatment, study the available treatment options, review doctors' CVs.

Patients with advanced melanoma should pick a hospital carefully. Below you can review some hospitals for treating advanced melanoma skin cancer in some countries and annual direct cost of the most popular treatment options. These hospitals have been ranked high by Bookimed melanoma patients:

How to Arrange Melanoma Treatment Abroad?

Melanoma patients usually do not have much time to search for the best medical center for the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer stage III or stage IV. Picking the proper hospital is a responsible decision because patients' lives depend on it.

The best way is to save time by requesting Bookimed, a free medical tourism platform for searching for medical centers.

How can Bookimed help you?

Bookimed has already helped 3,700+ melanoma patients who have requested from different corners of the globe. Bookimed medical coordinators know:


  • where a required melanoma diagnosis and treatment are available
  • which hospitals provide clinical trials
  • where it is possible to combine cost-effectiveness with advanced treatment.
  • how to avoid queues and start treating melanoma immediately
  • what visa issues you can face and how to solve them.

We will provide you with the direct overall costs of various diagnostic and therapeutic options upon request, pick up the most proper medical center, and schedule the appointment with a doctor. The Bookimed coordinator will stay in touch with you to solve any unforeseen issues, if they take place during your treating melanoma.

Bookimed works with certified hospitals directly, so there are no hidden costs. Our services are free for patients. You receive the total costs only for the treatment.

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Conclusion

The cost of melanoma therapy depends on many factors. Only knowing the disease stage and where a patient receives medical help, it is possible to precisely calculate the total costs of cancer treatment. It is worth saying that the earlier patients undergo the diagnostics and detect melanoma, the less medical costs they will pay. For patients with stage IV melanoma, the total cost of therapy may be increased by ten times compared to those who have started to treat skin cancer at cancer stages o, I, II.

However, independently of the skin cancer stage, patients need to search for the best medical center to start the treatment immediately. If a customer does not have much and count on the cost-effectiveness without wasting therapy quality, hospitals located in Turkey, Thailand, Poland may be the best options for you. If you do not have any medical costs concerns, consider medical centers in Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea.

FAQs

What is the survival rate for melanoma?

The melanoma survival rate differs at various clinical stages. For stages 0, I, II, the 5-year survival rate is 98.4%, for stage III — 63.6%, for stage IV — 22.5%. Patients with metastatic cutaneous malignant melanoma have the poorest chances for recovery, so it is important to start the proper treatment as soon as possible.

Can you be cured of melanoma?

The 5-year survival rate associated with melanoma reaches up to 98.4%. So, patients with stages 0, I, II, and even III have great chances to cure skin cancer completely.

How much does it cost to remove skin cancer?

According to the estimate of the annual costs on bookimed.com, the average price for skin cancer removal is $9,700, depending on the country and the hospital. The cost of melanoma surgery starts from $4,500 and can reach up to 15,000.


Citations

Wikipedia. (2021). Melanoma
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanoma Cancer.org. (2021). Key statistics for melanoma skin cancer
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer... NCBI. (2015). Melanoma treatment costs.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC44959... Cancer.org. (2019). Treatment of melanoma skin cancer, by stage.
https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer... Curemelanoma. Melanoma survival rates.
https://www.curemelanoma.org/about-melanoma/melano... Escholarship. (2009). Melanoma costs: A dynamic model comparing estimated overall costs of various clinical stages.
https://escholarship.org/uc/item/53f8q915 Pubmed. (2012). Melanoma treatment costs: a systematic review of the literature, 1990-2011
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23079178/