Cost Breakdown of Cancer Treatment in Singapore: Type of Cancer, Treatment Options, Subsidies

Cost Breakdown of Cancer Treatment in Singapore Type of Cancer, Treatment Options, Subsidies

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.

How Much Do You Need For Cancer Treatment Singapore?

The cost of treating cancer in Singapore depends on several factors:

  • Stage of cancer: Earlier stages are less aggressive and therefore easier to treat. Most early stage cancer patients do not require surgery.
  • Risk of complications: A lower potential for complications is connected to fewer treatments and additional costs. As such, your cancer treatment will be more affordable.
  • Hospital and ward: Private institutions and comfortable wards with more privacy are more expensive.
  • Type of treatment: More innovative treatments cost more. Also, the more preliminary investigations you have to do, the more you will have to pay.
  • Type of cancer: Costs also depend on your tumour’s location.

Let’s take a look at some investigations, treatment options and their costs.

Preliminary Investigations: Biopsy

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 biopsyPublic hospital costPrivate hospital cost
Breast cancer biopsy$915$6,725
Prostate cancer biopsy$939$6,067
Colorectal cancer biopsy$1,160$3,370
Skin cancer biopsy$492$3,180
Lung cancer biopsy$3,999$20,422

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:

  • Blood tests
  • Health screenings
  • MRI scans
  • CT scans
  • PET-CT scans
  • Colonoscopies

Cancer Surgery Costs

In Singapore, the average cost of surgery ranges from $2,810 at public subsidised hospitals to $32,663 at private hospitals.


  • Cancer surgery in public hospitals is 80% more affordable than in private ones.
  • The cancer treatment cost in Singapore is 56% more affordable in public hospitals than in private ones.

Here’s a breakdown of those costs depending on the type of cancer you have and the hospital you choose:

Type of cancerPrivate unsubsidised hospitalPublic unsubsidised hospitalPublic subsidised hospital
Breast cancer$18,525$4,176$1,777
Prostate cancer$53,326$26,244$2,030
Colorectal cancer$42,612$23,041$4,177
Lung cancer$25,240$9,159$2,426

Other Singapore Cancer Treatment Costs 

Apart from surgery, your oncologist may recommend additional treatments depending on your specific condition. We will break down their costs below:

  • Cost of chemotherapy in Singapore: An average of $1500 per cycle (e.g., $614 in ward C and $2,050 in ward B2 of a subsidised hospital). The duration of your treatment also influences the overall costs.
  • Radiotherapy costs Singapore: $25,000 to $30,000. The overall cost depends on the number of sessions required to kill your cancer.
  • Immunotherapy cost in Singapore: $9,000 per dose. A year’s worth of immunotherapy costs between $156,000 and $234,000 because the sessions take place every 2-3 weeks. Although very expensive, this treatment can effectively fight cancers like Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, advanced melanoma, bladder cancer and non-small cell lung cancer.
  • Proton therapy in Singapore: $13,000 if you qualify for subsidies. The treatment stretches over six weeks, with short sessions between 15 and 30 minutes.

How Much Does It Cost To Treat Stage 4 Cancer?

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:

  • Hospice: This option will be presented to you if your cancer has progressed to a point where treatment no longer works.
  • Palliative care: This option is usually done alongside your other treatments.

These medical care alternatives have many benefits:

  • Improve your life quality, increasing your comfort
  • Get access to psychological and spiritual support
  • Help you make the best calls
  • Take care of your family’s emotional health

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: 

MK Personal Loan Banner
  • HCA Hospice Care
  • Assisi Hospice
  • Metta Welfare

Does Medisave Cover Cancer Treatment?

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:

  • Combination therapy (i.e., immunotherapy, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment): Covers only the most expensive drug in your treatment, with prices between $200 and $9,600
  • External or superficial radiotherapy: Up to $140/treatment
  • Brachytherapy: Up to $500/treatment
  • Stereotactic: Up to $1,800/treatment
  • Surgery: Up to $2,000

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:

  • Hospital stay, including at A or B1 public hospital wards or private hospital wards
  • Pre- and post-hospitalisation treatments
  • Most cancer treatments (biopsies, chemo, and surgery)

Purchasing an IP after receiving your diagnosis may wither:

  • Exclude your treatments from payment
  • Get you higher insurance premiums

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.

Is Chemo Covered By Insurance? 

MediShield and IPs both cover chemotherapy. However, since September 2022, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has allowed insurance to cover only the following:

  • Effective, and:
  • Cost-effective drugs and treatments on the Cancer Drug List

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.

How to Reduce Cancer Costs?

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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