Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases in the world, and it continues to have a major impact on society. In the United States, estimates suggest about 1.8 million new cancer diagnoses in 2020, and over 600,000 deaths from cancer in that same year. Based on estimated new cases, the most common cancers in the country are breast cancer, lung cancer and bronchial cancer, and prostate cancer.
Cancer currently has no known cure, though treatments and medical technologies constantly evolve, allowing for more people to survive even with a cancer diagnosis. As of January 2019, estimates suggest more than 16.9 million cancer survivors in the United States
Treatments can be difficult to access for many people living in the United States, both in terms of finances and physical location. Certain alternative cancer treatment options are also not officially approved, which makes them difficult to locate. Many people make their way to Mexico for cancer treatment. Read this guide from Immunity Therapy Center and learn more about the costs and benefits of receiving cancer treatment in Mexico.
Cancer Treatment in Mexico Cost
The U.S. healthcare system has complications and imperfections that can often make paying for cancer treatment extremely difficult. Even after surviving cancer, the high cost often results in financial hardships among cancer patients and their families. That can include problems paying hospital bills, a loss of savings, and potential bankruptcy. The threat of financial hardships can also result in patients delaying or not even seeking necessary medical care. On top of that, patients have to factor in the indirect costs of cancer, like caregiving costs and lost wages while receiving treatment.
The exact cost of treatment will obviously vary from person to person based on numerous factors, such as the type of treatment required, the type of cancer, the area affected, and your healthcare insurance coverage. However, estimates suggest that the initial phase of cancer costs about $43,000 per year on average. Average ongoing costs are about $5,500 per year. Costs are highest in the last year of life, averaging about $109,000 per year.
These costs are astronomical and inaccessible to a large part of the population. This becomes even more problematic for those without healthcare or those with plans that do not cover certain cancer treatments. About 8.6 percent of people in the United States (about 28 million people) did not have any form of healthcare at any point in 2020.
The massive financial burden is one of the main reasons people travel to Mexico for cancer treatment. In Mexico, healthcare, in general, is significantly lower in cost than in the United States, often attracting Tijuana medical tourism.
On average, you can expect to spend 50 to 70 percent less on cancer treatments in Mexico than in the United States. Exact indirect and direct medical costs can vary, but you can typically expect to spend several thousand dollars to about $50,000. That can seem like a lot, but it is still significantly less than the average cost of treatment in the United States.
Most importantly, hospitals in Mexico are straightforward about what your money is going toward. There is a general understanding that you traveled from abroad to receive treatment, so these facilities are not here to waste your time or make you question the costs.
Alternative and Non-Invasive Treatments
There are a wide range of cancer treatments all over the world, even within the U.S. borders. The most common treatments for cancer involve surgery to remove tumors and cancerous tissue, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Chemotherapy involves administering drugs that are designed to kill cells that grow fast, like cancerous cells. Radiation therapy involves exposing your cells to intense energy, most often X-rays. This radiation damages cells and prevents them from growing and dividing.
Surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy are often used in combination to destroy cancerous cells as completely as possible. While this can be effective for many cancer patients, it may potentially cause a variety of side effects. Surgery is invasive and requires time to heal afterward. Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cells, but the drugs that are used cannot differentiate between cancer cells and regular cells that happen to grow fast, like hair cells and white blood cells. Radiation therapy can also cause damage to healthy cells.
The good news for these treatments is that the human body is resilient. Healthy cells that sustain any damage can typically heal themselves, and side effects go away once the medical treatment period is over. However, that still means that your time in the middle of treatment can be difficult. You may feel exhausted and weak. Other common side effects of cancer treatments include:
- General pain
- Blood clots
- Digestive issues
- Nausea and vomiting
- Trouble concentrating and remembering things
Many people seek alternative therapies that are minimally invasive or non-invasive, which prevents many of the negative side effects of other treatments. These alternative treatments can vary, from augmenting your immune system to better combat cancer cells to increasing oxygenation to healthy tissue.
Alternative treatment options can be difficult to find in the United States, or they may be nonexistent entirely. However, the prevalence of complementary and alternative medicines has increased in Mexico, allowing for easier access to treatments that may otherwise be unavailable in the United States.
The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allowed for greater cooperation in Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Along with improvements in trade and industry, NAFTA led to increased measures to prevent health fraud across borders and improve overall medical regulations.
In other words, there is a low chance of you experiencing fraud or undergoing ineffective treatments while a hospital or clinic profits. Clinics and hospitals in Mexico are as safe as anywhere. Doctors and staff are highly trained and knowledgeable. At no point are you receiving “second-rate” medical care, and you can expect safe procedures throughout the course of your treatment.
It is important to understand that there is still no cure for cancer, and there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for every cancer patient. What is effective for someone else may have no effect on you. Alternative treatment and clinical trials open up your medical treatment options, increasing your potential for a successful outcome. Whether you are considering costs or simply looking for different treatment options, it may be worth it to look into cancer treatments in Mexico.
Written By: Dr. Adolfo Carrillo
Dr. Adolfo Carrillo is a Board Certified Medical Doctor from Universidad Autónoma de Baja California.
Dr. Carrillo has been collaborating with Dr. Bautista for over 5 years as a treating physician at the Immunity Therapy Center. Dr. Carrillo is a charismatic Doctor whose knowledge and commitment to patient care and bringing healing to patients is a valuable asset to our center.
At Immunity Therapy Center, our goal is to provide objective, updated, and research-based information on all health-related topics. This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by Dr. Carlos Bautista, a Board Certified Medical Doctor at Immunity Therapy Center. All information published on the site must undergo an extensive review process to ensure accuracy. This article contains trusted sources with all references hyperlinked for the reader's visibility.