Cancer affects millions of people worldwide. It has become one of the most common causes of disease-related deaths. There were times when we did not know much about the disease, but not anymore. With the advancements in medical technology, various innovative treatments are available that help beat cancer successfully.
One such breakthrough treatment is immunotherapy. It is a biological therapy that utilizes the body’s immune system to kill cancer cells. It is a relatively newer treatment modality that has proven benefits in fighting certain types of cancer.
You might be wondering how much it would cost your pockets, right? The therapy can be expensive, but that’s not true in India. The Immunotherapy Cost In India starts at around INR 1,00,000 per session. This blog will help you give an estimate of the pricing of the therapy so that you can decide better.
What is Immunotherapy?
The immune system aids the body in defeating diseases and illnesses caused by external or internal factors. However, it cannot fight cancer as the cells are undetectable. The reason for this is the lack of specific markers that help the immune system identify them. Even if the immune system can detect cancer cells, they have the ability to signal the system not to attack them.
Another scenario is that your immunity might be so low that it cannot protect you against the deadly disease. This is where immunotherapy comes into play. The therapy increases the potential of the immune system, helping it identify and disrupt cancer cells.
Immunotherapy offers several benefits, such as –
- It may work when other treatments fail.
- It can help other treatments work better.
- The chances of cancer to return are less likely if treated using immunotherapy.
How Does Immunotherapy Differ From Chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are both effective ways of battling cancer. Both have different mechanisms of action when it comes to shrinking the tumors. Immunotherapy has several advantages and disadvantages over chemotherapy. The benefit of immunotherapy is that it has fewer side effects that are less severe compared to chemotherapy. However, chemotherapy works immediately, while immunotherapy might take some time to show its results.
What is the Cost of Immunotherapy in India?
Immunotherapy can be an expensive treatment that might not agree with all cancer patients. The drugs are patented and imported from foreign lands, thereby increasing the prices of the therapy. It involves multiple sessions. Your treating oncologist will decide the best course of action for you. The cost of treatment will be determined accordingly.
In general, the cost of immunotherapy in India ranges from INR 1,00,000 to INR 4,00,000. The country boasts several renowned oncology hospitals that provide cost-effective immunotherapy. The prices of the therapy in different Indian cities are as follows –
- Delhi: INR 80,000 – 1,30,000
- Mumbai: INR 1,30,000 – 1,50,000
- Bangalore: INR 1,00,000 – 1,30,000
- Chennai: INR 1,50,000 – 1,60,000
The cost of immunotherapy in India includes –
- Consultation Fees: The fees of oncologists in India range from INR 1,000 to 5,000.
- Investigation Costs: Certain tests, like complete blood tests, ECG, urine tests, etc, might be performed before giving immunotherapy. The cost of these tests ranges from INR 30,000 to 50,000.
- PD-L1 Test: The test is of use to identify specific proteins present in the cancerous cells that help them to hide from the immune system. The price of tests is between INR 15,000 to 30,000.
- Cost of Medicine: The cost of drugs used for immunotherapy ranges from INR 1,00,000 to 2,00,000.
What are the Costs of Treating Different Types of Cancers Using Immunotherapy?
Immunotherapy can be used to manage a wide variety of cancers. Its application involves treating –
- Breast Cancer: One of the most commonly detected cancers, breast tumors can be managed using immunotherapy drugs like Atezolizumab.
- Bladder Cancer: Immunotherapy is effective in treating advanced stages of bladder cancer. It reduces the chances of reoccurrence and improves the survival rate. BCG, Atezolizumab, Durvalumab, Nivolumab, and Pembrolizumab are the approved immunotherapy drugs for bladder cancer.
- Cervical Cancer: Cancer of the cervix is again one of the most frequently diagnosed cancers in women. HPV vaccines can be used to prevent cervical cancers. Pembrolizumab is the approved immunotherapy drug for the disease.
- Colorectal Cancer: The cancers of the colon and rectum can be managed with drugs like Nivolumab and Pembrolizumab.
- Esophageal Cancer: Cancers of the esophagus have responded well to immunotherapy. Targeted antibodies like Ramucirumab/Trastuzumab and immunomodulators like Pembrolizumab are used to treat esophageal cancer.
- Head & Neck Cancer: Cancers of the mouth, voice box, nose cavity, throat, and salivary glands fall under head and neck cancer. They are managed with Cetuximab, Nivolumab, and Pembrolizumab.
The cost of various immunotherapy drugs mentioned above are as follows –
- BCG – INR 1,500
- Pembrolizumab – INR 2,00,000 to 4,00,000
- Atezolizumab – INR 2,25,000
- Nivolumab – INR 2,00,000 to 2,50,000
- Cabozantinib – INR 2,70,000
- Cetuximab – INR 1,05,000
- Durvalumab – INR 1,38,000
- Ramucirumab – INR 1,62,000 to 2,00,000
Immunotherapy is an innovative treatment approach for managing cancer. It works wonders in many cases where conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation don’t. The oncologist can also club the therapy with these treatment modalities. The cost of immunotherapy in India is relatively less compared to other developed nations. While some types of immunotherapy drugs are still being perfected, they have appeared as a growing beacon of hope for cancer treatment.