Because of medical advancement, we have a second chance. Let’s see if we can afford cancer without insurance.
- 39 People diagnosed with Cancer everyday
- 15 people die of Cancer everyday
- 1 out of 4 people may develop Cancer in their lifetime
In other words, we have around 25% chance of developing cancer in our lifetime (Source: Common Types of Cancer, Singapore Cancer Society). Let’s put some fun facts as a probability comparison.
- Dying in a car accident in Singapore – 0.0148% (2016 Figure: Probability of Getting in a Car Accident in Singapore)
- Dying because of a lightning strike – 0.000349% (Source: CNA Insider)
- Getting hit by bird shit – 0.000975% (Source: Reddit Estimate)
- Winning a TOTO Jackpot – 0.00000714285% (Source: Singapore Pools)
- Developing Cancer – 25%
Enough said. So now I know the chances of developing cancer is high, what are the cost?
It really depends on what cancer we are talking about here. MOH now provide fee benchmarks and fee information for the treatments in public hospital and private hospitals. There are 3 main things that biopsy, surgery or treatment.
I have extracted the most common form of cancer in Singapore in a private hospital. (Data Extracted: 24 June 2020)
- Breast Cancer treatment (conservation of breast, removal of cancerous growth with removal of underarm lymph nodes) will cost $23,423
- Cervical cancer (female reproductive tract, scope of the cervix with removal of growth (<2am): $7,075 to $8,261
- Colon cancer (lower abdomen, scope of large intestine for diagnosis with removal of growth (multiple or >1cm): $3,755
- Prostate cancer (male reproductive tract, removal of entire prostate and surroundings): $53,326
- Pancreatic cancer (upper abdomen, scope of bile duct and pancreatic duct with treatment): $1,412 to $2,984
You can find out more about MOH fee benchmark here.
The conclusion here is that the cost varies wildly and depends on the stage at which the cancer is discovered and the size of the tumor.
The 3 common outpatient treatment for Cancer is Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Immunotherapy. Like treatment cost, outpatient cost also varies wildly.
In Singapore, the average cost of Chemotherapy is $1500 per cycle. It really depends on the stage of cancer to determine the number of cycle needed. Depend on the drugs used, an article from David mentioned an average of 2 chemotherapy session a month may cost up to $10,000 (Source: MOH New Highlights). Would you be prepared to pay $3000/month (average cost x 2 session) for chemotherapy?
The average cost of Radiotherapy ranges from $25,000 to $30,000. (Source: Precision cancer treatment expected by 2020). There is a new treatment called Proton Bean Therapy that is just being approve by MOH. The cost could go up to three times as much and require about the same number of sessions.
Immunotherapy is the most “expensive” method because it is one of the newer treatment available. It cost around $9000 per dose. If we assume that the dose is needed very 2 weeks, the total cost could be $234,000 per year. (Source: Immune System Unplugged: Releasing Cancer’s Grip on Immune Cells with Checkpoint Inhibitors)
Are you afford Cancer?
Given a typical medium income of $56,550, (Source: SingStat: Key Household Income Trend), the outpatient cost will easily wipe away a person’s annual salary or more. Most likely, they will be digging deep into their saving to afford cancer.
This also assumes that the person is able to continue working during cancer. There is a possibility that you might be asked to stop work to undergo treatment. This lost income not only impact the ability to afford cancer but also the ability to afford your current lifestyle to provide for your family.
What should you do?
The problem will still be there even if you don’t face it.
Firstly, check if you have adequate critical illness coverage and hospitalisation coverage. Follow up with your financial consultant or you can contact me if you don’t have one. Your coverage amount will be determined by your age, whether you have a family, number of dependents, etc.
Do it before 26 August 2020, After 26 August 2020, all critical illness policies in Singapore will have to follow the new definition as stated by the LIA.
Take Care and Stay Safe!
No one will care about your money as much as you do.
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