Breast Cancer is caused when cells in the breast mutate, growing out of control. These mutated cells grow into mass of cells – either forming a lump that can be felt or as a tumour that can be seen on an x-ray. According to the most recent report from the Singapore Cancer Registry, between 2008 and 2012, breast cancer was the No.1 type of cancer for women in Singapore:
This cancer was also the cause of 18 per cent of all female deaths by cancer.
Breast Cancer Costs
Breast cancer care is financially destabilising. An average woman earns $4,027 a month but cancer treatments on average, costs $8,000 to $17,000 a month.
The costs of breast cancer is extremely heavy on patients and their caregivers from the onset.
After diagnosis, Breast Cancer patients can go through surgical or non-surgical procedures to treat their cancers.
Non-surgical procedures include radiotherapy which makes use of high-energy x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons to kill or damage cancer cells. Alternatively, patients may need to undergo chemotherapy. This treatment uses chemical substances – most commonly as an infusion into the vein or in pill or capsule forms. Depending on whether the patient is at the early or late stages of her breast cancer, she will require several repeating cycles of chemotherapy increasing Breast Cancer costs.
The most common procedures include surgery. Lumpectomy (also known as breast-conserving surgery) is a surgical procedure to remove cancerous cell or abnormal tissues from the breast. The other common surgery is a Masectomy. This procedure includes the removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.
Additionally, the cost of treatment depends on a few factors like the type of cancer, the stage of cancer and the physical condition of the patient. Post surgery wound care can also add on to the cost of treatment.
Other Costs of Breast Cancer
Not only are these procedures expensive, there are also additional costs incurred by the patient post-surgery.
Breast Reconstruction Surgery is an option that many women may consider post- lumpectomy or masectomy.
Home Care services, like Jaga-Me’s, provide medical support to the patient’s family from the comfort of their own home. House call doctors can be engaged or simpler issues can be resolved via teleconsultation doctors.
Cancer Diagnosis may require several trips to hospitals. For example, Radiotherapy usually lasts for 6 weeks, 5 days a weeks and will comprise of at least 30 sessions. Due to side effects like fatigue or nausea, patients may refuse the discomfort of public transport for the convenience of the more expensive commuting choices like taxis.
Breast cancer is expensive in Singapore, but there are ways to finance these costs.
There are available schemes – Medisave, Medishield Life, Medifund and ComCare – that aims to financially assist breast cancer patients that are in need.
However, the government initiatives may not be able to cover all costs of Breast Cancer. As such, opting for Private Insurance schemes on top of what the governments offers may be financially beneficial. That are three types of Private Medical Insurance to consider:
Integrated Shield Plans
Critical Illness Policies
Cancer Insurance Plans
Other Financial Aid
Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) offers cancer rehabilitation programmes. Alternatively, SCS has several financial and welfare schemes to help those in need. Successful candidates may receive temporary financial assistance, medical supplies and subsidies for approved drugs or treatments.
How can Jaga-Me Help?
We provide professional cancer care for your loved one. If your loved one needs frequent care, you can engage our services. If you need personalised caregiver training, you can simply ask our nurses! We will assess the condition of the patient and provide you a personalized care plan on how to care for him or her.