Understanding Lymphoma and Leukemia Treatments and Costs

Lymphoma and leukemia are two types of cancer that affect the blood and lymphatic system and understanding lymphoma and leukemia treatments and costs is of the utmost importance. These diseases can be daunting for patients and their families, not only due to their medical complexity but also because of the financial burden associated with treatment. Here, we will delve into the most popular treatments for lymphoma and leukemia.  Additionally, we’ll explore how viatical settlements or life settlements can offer financial assistance to individuals facing these challenges.

Understanding lymphoma and leukemia treatments and costs - this chart shows common treatment options and ways to cover costs

Understanding Lymphoma and Leukemia

Lymphoma and leukemia are both cancers of the blood and bone marrow, but they affect different types of blood cells. Lymphoma originates in the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s immune system and includes lymph nodes, spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow. Leukemia, on the other hand, affects the blood and bone marrow, leading to the overproduction of abnormal white blood cells.


Chemotherapy involves the use of drugs to kill cancer cells or prevent their growth. It is a common treatment for both lymphoma and leukemia and may be administered orally or intravenously. Chemotherapy can be given in cycles, with rest periods in between to allow the body to recover from side effects.

Some chemotherapy drugs include:

  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
  • Vincristine (Oncovin)
  • Prednisone
  • Methotrexate
  • Cytarabine (cytosine arabinoside)
  • Etoposide (VP-16)
  • Bleomycin
  • Vinblastine
  • L-asparaginase

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to target and destroy cancer cells. It is often used in combination with other treatments or as a standalone therapy for lymphoma and leukemia. Radiation therapy can be localized to specific areas of the body affected by cancer.


Immunotherapy is a type of treatment that harnesses the body’s immune system to fight cancer. It may involve the use of monoclonal antibodies, checkpoint inhibitors, or adoptive cell transfer. Immunotherapy has shown promising results in treating certain types of lymphoma and leukemia by enhancing the body’s natural defenses against cancer cells.

Some immunotherapy treatments include:

  • Pembrolizumab (Keytruda): Used in Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers by blocking the PD-1 pathway.
  • Nivolumab (Opdivo): Used in Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers by blocking the PD-1 pathway.
  • Ipilimumab (Yervoy): Used in combination with nivolumab in Hodgkin lymphoma and other cancers by blocking the CTLA-4 pathway.
  • Alemtuzumab (Campath): Used for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and T-cell lymphoma.

Stem Cell Transplantation

Stem cell transplantation, also known as bone marrow transplantation, is a procedure used to replace damaged or diseased bone marrow with healthy stem cells. It is often used as a treatment for leukemia and certain types of lymphoma. Stem cells can be harvested from the patient’s own body (autologous transplant) or from a donor (allogeneic transplant).

Some stem cell treatment drugs and therapies include:

  • Busulfan
  • Melphalan
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Fludarabine
  • Total body irradiation (TBI): Not a drug, but a radiation-based preparative regimen for HSCT.

Targeted Therapies

Other targeted therapies may include:

  • Rituximab (Rituxan): Used for B-cell lymphomas by targeting CD20 antigen on B-cells.
  • Brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris): Effective in treating Hodgkin lymphoma and some T-cell lymphomas.
  • Ibrutinib (Imbruvica): Used in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
  • Venetoclax (Venclexta): Effective in treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and some types of lymphomas.
  • Blinatumomab (Blincyto): Used for relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).

Costs Associated with Treatment

The costs associated with treating lymphoma and leukemia can vary widely depending on factors such as the type and stage of cancer, the chosen treatment modalities, and the duration of therapy. Some of the main expenses include:

Medical Procedures and Hospitalizations

Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplantation, and other medical procedures can be costly, especially if multiple rounds of treatment are required. Hospitalizations for surgeries, complications, or intensive care add to the overall expenses.


The cost of medications, including chemotherapy drugs, immunotherapy agents, and supportive medications to manage side effects, can be significant. Some newer drugs and biologics may be particularly expensive.

Some medications may include:

  • Filgrastim (Neupogen): Used to stimulate the production of white blood cells after chemotherapy.
  • Epoetin alfa (Epogen, Procrit): Used to treat anemia associated with chemotherapy.
  • Ondansetron (Zofran): Anti-nausea medication commonly used with chemotherapy.

Doctor Visits and Monitoring

Regular visits to oncologists, hematologists, and other healthcare providers for monitoring and follow-up care contribute to ongoing healthcare costs.

Ancillary Services

Additional services such as laboratory tests, imaging studies, genetic testing, and consultations with specialists may incur additional expenses.

Viatical Settlements and Life Settlements

Viatical settlements and life settlements are financial options that allow individuals with life-threatening illnesses to sell their life insurance policies for a lump sum cash payment. These funds can be used to cover medical expenses, treatment costs, living expenses, or any other financial needs.

In a viatical settlement, the policyholder sells their life insurance policy to a third party, typically at a discount to its face value. The purchaser becomes the new policy owner and assumes responsibility for paying future premiums. In exchange, the policyholder receives a lump sum payment that can be used immediately.  Viatical settlement proceeds are typically not taxed as they are, in most cases, considered an advance of your death benefit.

Similarly, in a life settlement, the policyholder sells their life insurance policy to a third party for a lump sum payment. The purchaser becomes the new policy owner and assumes responsibility for paying future premiums. The policyholder receives a cash payment, which is typically more than the policy’s cash surrender value but less than the death benefit.

Find Out if You Qualify

Lymphoma and leukemia are serious illnesses that require comprehensive treatment and care. While medical advances have improved survival rates and quality of life for many patients, the costs associated with treatment can be overwhelming. Understanding the available treatment options and exploring financial assistance options such as viatical settlements or life settlements can help alleviate some of the financial burdens faced by individuals and their families.

To find out if you qualify for this valuable option, please give us a call at 800-973-9258.  It only takes a 5-10 minute phone call to find out if your policy may be a source of hidden value.