Cancer is a critical illness that can disrupt your life. Most cancers in their early stages do not come with symptoms; and once they do, they are likely in their later stages.
How affordable is cancer treatment in Singapore?
This article discusses how much cancer treatment costs Singapore, subsidies, and how much you will have to pay out of your pocket.
We will analyse the prices of most therapies and treatments and break them down according to cancer type. You will also learn about public and private insurance, as well as how you can reduce the average cost of cancer treatment.
Keep reading below.
The cost of treating cancer in Singapore depends on several factors:
Let’s take a look at some investigations, treatment options and their costs.
One of the tests to check for cancer cells is through a biopsy, a procedure where a small amount of tissue is taken from the suspected cancerous tumour or body part.
In Singapore, a biopsy can cost between $1,044 in public hospitals and $5,833 in private institutions. The type of cancer you have also affects the overall costs. Here’s an example breakdown for the most common cancers in Singapore:
|Type of biopsy
|Public hospital cost
|Private hospital cost
|Breast cancer biopsy
|Prostate cancer biopsy
|Colorectal cancer biopsy
|Skin cancer biopsy
|Lung cancer biopsy
As you can see from the figures above, generally, the cost of a biopsy at a private clinic is 20% of the cost of a biopsy at a private hospital.
Note: You must consider other investigations and analyses that your oncologist will recommend. These include:
In Singapore, the average cost of surgery ranges from $2,810 at public subsidised hospitals to $32,663 at private hospitals.
Here’s a breakdown of those costs depending on the type of cancer you have and the hospital you choose:
|Type of cancer
|Private unsubsidised hospital
|Public unsubsidised hospital
|Public subsidised hospital
Apart from surgery, your oncologist may recommend additional treatments depending on your specific condition. We will break down their costs below:
The overall cost of treating stage four cancer ranges between $100,000 and $200,000. Depending on the length of your treatment, be prepared to fork out between $8,400 and $16,700 per month.
Apart from the costs we outlined above, you should also consider the following:
These medical care alternatives have many benefits:
Hospice care can cost up to $7,000/month. To lower this cost, consider the available grants or a health insurance scheme through welfare organisations in Singapore.
Pro tip: The following organisations provide free hospice:
Yes, Singapore citizens can use MediSave to pay some outpatient and inpatient care costs. MediShield Life can help you, especially if you prefer B2 or C wards. A wards are much more expensive, so you will have to fork out more money from your own wallet.
Here are the outpatient costs that MediShield Life can cover for Singaporeans:
Also, the maximum claim limit per policy year is $100,000.
Pro tip: If you have purchased an Integrated Shield Plan (IP) before receiving your cancer diagnosis, it can help you cover up to 95% of your:
Purchasing an IP after receiving your diagnosis may wither:
Here’s the downside:
An IP doesn’t offer a lump sum in the event of cancer; it only pays for punctual treatments and hospital stays.
By comparison, other cancer plans or specific cancer insurance guarantees a sum in case you get cancer. And you can use this sum however you want, including for daily expenses. That should help you take a break from work and focus on your recovery.
MediShield and IPs both cover chemotherapy. However, since September 2022, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has allowed insurance to cover only the following:
This decision will be extended to the IPs in April 2023.
Pro tip: Consider a cancer-specific insurance plan (critical illness plans) with a private health provider. Unlike comprehensive private health insurance, this policy is cheaper and has the best coverage for cancer.
Besides, this plan helps you claim your money independently of your specific medical expenses. That means you can use the payout for cancer treatments, groceries, or a trip to Bali.
Consider MediFund if you still cannot afford treatment, even after the other subsidies and insurance.
Another solution is to apply with the Singapore Cancer Society for further assistance.
But the best thing you can do is to fight cancer as aggressively as it has attacked your body. This means undergoing treatment ASAP.
Sure, applying for subsidies and organisations may help you offset how much you pay significantly. But these things take time, and delaying the necessary procedures gives the cancer more chances to invade healthy cells.
As any oncologist will tell you, each minute makes a significant difference in your battle against cancer.
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