$100,000 Bill You Can’t Afford

| 18 Dec 2019

Mention cancer (the C-Word) and most people shudder in fear. This isn’t alarming, especially when it IS the top killer in Singapore. 


Numbers Show An Increasing Cancer Risk Among Singaporeans

Based on Singstat’s “Singapore in Figures 2019”, cancer was responsible for 28.8% of the deaths in Singapore. And that number is only expected to grow with cancer cases rising sharply in both men and women. The National Cancer Centre Singapore published some statistics on the situation in Singapore, detailing the common cancers in men (colo-rectum) and women (breast). 

In a Straits Times article dated 21 Jun 2017, it reads “Over the past 40 years, the diagnosis of breast cancer here has more than doubled – from 25 to 65 per 100,000 women. Over the same period, prostate cancer has gone up fivefold – from six to 30 per 100,000 men.” Even if the article is a bit old, the threat of cancer is far from gone. 

Cancer treatment is known to be extremely expensive, hence the title of this article. Cancer treatment costs can vary tremendously and the figure in the title is only the cost of the most expensive treatments. There are plenty of factors that influence the cost such as how far the cancer has progressed, the type of cancer and if you decide to go to a private or public hospital just to name a few.  

Cost of Cancer Treatment in Singapore

Men and women are genetically different and the cancers that target the genders will differ. However, cancer isn’t picky which is why the most common cancers for both genders can be quite similar


Major Cancer Cost (Table)

Type of cancer

Cost : Public Hospital (Subsidised) 

Costs: Public Hospital (Unsubsidised) 

Costs: Private Hospital


Colo-rectal cancer: 


$23,806 to $56,750

$61,943 to $119,367

$95,417 to $113,513


Prostate cancer:


$27,062 to $60,006

$54,956 to $112,380

$94,278 to $176,182


Breast cancer:


$18,555 to $51,499

$41,465 to $98,889

$64,375 to $146,279


Lung cancer:


$22,129 to $55,073

$63,078 to $126,356

$86,614 to $168,518


Skin cancer:


$16,472 to $49,416

$28,712 to $86,136

$40,952 to $122,856

*Low End Estimates assume an 8 round chemotherapy

*High End Estimates assume a 24 round chemotherapy 


National Cancer Centre Singapore

Cost of Battling Cancer

Mayo Clinic


These figures are merely estimates. Costs can be lower or higher depending on which stage the cancer is in, with later stages needing more treatment. Most of these costs also include complete removal of the affected tissue, which is not necessary in every case. 

Cancer can ruin your finances, especially if it’s a late stage cancer where you might require 30 to 40 rounds of chemotherapy at the minimum. Thankfully, with advancements in technology cancer can be detected very early, reducing the need for extensive treatment.

What can I do?

Cancer is covered under most Critical Illness plans which can help you pay part of the bill. However, CI plans are expensive which is why some people steer clear away from them. A recent study showed that Singaporeans had a staggering 80% gap in CI coverage. 

That means that should a critical illness strike, such as cancer, their CI plans will only cover 20% of what they would need. Your CI plan should cover at least 4x your annual income although it depends on your current financial situation. 

Standalone CI plans can get expensive. If you’d rather not spend so much on your CI plan, opt for CI riders on your existing insurance policies. The riders cost less than a standalone plan and still offer decent coverage and protection.

If you need more financial advice, feel free to contact our friendly representatives here at PolicyPal. Contact us at +65 3163 9184 or [email protected].



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