In a previous article we explored the basic information that people ought to know about cancer treatment costs in Singapore. In essence, for later-stage cancer, we can expect the cost to be in the range of $100,000 to $200,000 per year. But how about the costs for each component of cancer treatment? For instance, what are chemotherapy costs in Singapore? In this article, we will take a deeper look into the cost components of common cancer treatments.
Cost of Cancer Diagnostic Tests
When cancer screening detects a potential problem or abnormality, diagnostic testing is needed to help doctors ascertain the nature of the problem. This enables a proper plan of cancer treatment to be made. There are various diagnostic tests available and at times, a combination of them will be needed.
Often, doctors will start with less intrusive imaging tests to detect cancer, such as CT, MRI and PET-CT scans. In Singapore, a PET-CT scan typically costs about $2,400.
A procedure called a biopsy might need to be done If imaging tests do not provide sufficient clarity on the nature of the abnormality. There is where a sample of tissue from the body is extracted and analysed to determine if it is cancerous. This might require inpatient stay, depending on how invasive the procedure has to be in order to extract the required tissue.
The average biopsy costs in Singapore for top cancers according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) are:
|Type of Cancer||Type of Hospital||Average Cost* (data accessed in May 22)|
|Lung||Private||$4,783 (Day surgery)|
|Public (Unsubsidised)||Information not published by MOH as there were less than 10 cases for each ward type from 1 July 2019 to 31 December 2020.|
* Total bill paid by 50% of patients (typically including doctor’s consultation fee, ward charges, medication, tests, etc.)
Cancer Surgery Costs
One of the ways to treat cancer is surgery, and how the surgery is carried out (e.g. more invasive v.s. minimally invasive surgery) will affect the cost.
MOH’s listing of the average cost of surgeries for the most common cancers in Singapore are:
|Type of Cancer||Type of Hospital||Average Cost (data accessed in May 22)|
Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells, control the spread of cancer, or to shrink tumors. Patients may sometimes require a combination of different chemotherapies to treat the cancer.
Chemotherapy costs in Singapore depend on the type and of drugs used, and the number of times they have to be administered.
MOH provides these average chemotherapy costs in Singapore:
|Type of Hospital||Average Cost (data accessed in May 22)|
Cost of Radiotherapy
Radiotherapy is a cancer treatment method that kills cancer cells using high doses of radiation to damage the DNA of the cancer cells.
The cost of radiotherapy can range from $25,000 to $30,000.
Other Cancer Treatments
In addition to surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy to treat cancer, there are times that other treatments are needed or are more appropriate, such as immunotherapy, laser therapy, hormonal therapy, and more. Discuss with your healthcare provider the additional or alternative treatments that may be suitable, and they can advise on the treatment costs as well.
This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.