The prognosis of cancer can be devastating in all aspects to a patient, the caregivers and the extended family. Apart from the health and worry about fatality, the costs take a massive toll on life as you once knew it.

The expenses of a family with a cancer patient is about 40% higher than regular ones. If you have armed yourself with medical insurance or enough savings ahead of time, then your options for treatment may be wider. You may also be wondering whether your chances are better if you get the cancer treated abroad rather than in India.

cancer treatment india vs abroad

We have tried to give you a comprehensive view of medical treatments across the globe and in India, so that you can make up your mind about what is best for you.

Understanding The Costs of Cancer Treatment

The cost of treatment of course varies depending upon the cancer type, stage of cancer, the treatment type and hospital.

The treatment will include a long list of medications over an extended period of time, the cost of chemotherapy or radiation and/or surgery, hospital services, doctors fees and more. The cost of diagnostics like CT Scans, PET Scans, MRI, FNAC, biopsy and such are ongoing. The extensive R&D that backs up cancer treatment is a reason why the numbers seem so high.

The long-term costs of cancer can add up to more than the estimates. Apart from indirect costs like loss of work days, additional help at home etc,; the expenses include the areas listed below:

- Cancer diagnosis tests

- Lab Tests

- Diagnostic procedures

- X-rays, MRIs and scans

- Radiation or chemotherapy

- Cancer treatment drugs

- Hospitalisation charges

- Oncology specialists’ fees

- Surgery costs

- Nursing care at home

Comparing Cancer Treatment in India vs Abroad

Why India For Treatment of Cancer

- In the last few years, India has rapidly become a sought-after destination for medical tourism.

- The advanced treatment and technology available in developed countries has been adapted in Indian hospitals.

- The expertise of Indian doctors is acknowledged the world over – a sizeable number of Doctors in the US and UK are of Indian origin.

- Cost is also a huge attraction for getting treatment for cancer in India. The costs of cancer treatment, chemotherapy, radiation etc is significantly less than the cost of paying for it in Pounds, Dollars or Euros

- All new drugs that are introduced into the global market simultaneously emerge in India as well.

- India has some of the lowest priced generic drugs in India. Currently, the Indian government has rejected patents of some cancer treatment drugs from global pharma companies in order to keep them affordable for the masses.

- A primary advantage of opting to get treated for cancer in India is that you have your family and support system around you, at a time when you are emotionally dependent.

Thus, India now boasts of the highest quality of medical care at competitive costs. India especially ranks high as an option for medical tourism for cancer treatment.

Why go Abroad to Get Cancer Treatment

The latest medical technology and treatment is available in developed countries like US, UK, Germany.

- The quality of hospital care is high as the standards and procedures are impeccable.

- Sometimes, survival rates are better due to the lack of pollution in the developed regions.

- The doctor to patient ratio is definitely better in these countries due to less population.

- Germany has created a reputation for itself as having one of the highest rates of survival in cancer care and treatment.

- Poland also offers high quality medical care for cancer at half the cost of its neighbour Germany.

- Turkey has emerged as another viable option for medical tourism, providing the best in medical facilities at a fraction of the costs in US or UK.

Cost Comparison of Cancer Care in India And Abroad

On an average, cancer care for six months in India, using lower priced drugs, could be Rs. 2.5 lakhs. Targeted new drugs could take this cost up to Rs. 20 lakhs.

The actual costs that you will have to pay will depend on the type of cancer you have, the hospital you choose, the treatment you opt for. However, listed below are some indicative costs to give you some ballpark figures. Please note: this is collated information. Do carry out personal confirmations for the same from your selected treatment centers.

Do note: The cost of the cancer which is diagnosed at an early stage is lower. As also, cancer care for younger healthier individuals costs less. 


Average cost of cancer treatment in India (*Avg statistics)

Average cost of cancer treatment in USA (*American Cancer Society)

Bone marrow transplant

Rs. 20 lakhs


Chemotherapy 6 cycles, 15 days

Rs. 90,000  onward


Avg cost of breast cancer treatment

Rs. 6 lakhs


Avg cost of lung cancer treatment

Rs. 4.8 lakhs


Keep in mind - a good insurance policy would cover most of these expenses, including even the cost of wigs if it is billed as a prosthesis.

Do make any informed choice – watch out blog for more articles on the costs of cancer treatment across various hospitals in India.

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