Affordability of cancer treatment for aging cancer patients in Singapore: an analysis of health, lifestyle, and financial burden Academic Article uri icon


  • With the expected rise in newly diagnosed cancer cases among the elderly in Singapore, the affordability of cancer treatments, particularly of targeted therapies, will be a growing concern for patients. This study examines the perspectives of aging cancer patients on the financial burden of their cancer treatments.A single-center, prospective study was conducted in the largest ambulatory cancer center in Singapore. Older (50 years old and above) cancer patients receiving treatment were recruited. Patients completed three sets of self-reporting tools assessing their (a) demographics and lifestyles, (b) health-related quality of life, and (c) perceptions of cancer treatment costs. The association between targeted therapy utilities and their perceived financial burden was evaluated using a multivariable logistic regression.Five hundred and sixteen patients were included in the study. The majority of the respondents (69.6 %) were between 50 and 64 years old. The majority were Singaporeans (97.7 %), belonged to the ethnic Chinese group (88.4 %), and most were female (59.1 %). The users of targeted therapies were 2.92 times more likely to perceive that the amount of cash that they spent on cancer treatment was more than expected and 2.52 times more likely to have difficulty paying for cancer treatments. Fortunately, the majority of the respondents (70.6 %) found their existing financial schemes helpful in reducing the necessary out-of-pocket expenses.Although aging cancer patients feel that the financial schemes in Singapore have helped them tremendously, the general perception is that they require further help to offset their out-of-pocket expenses. This is especially true for users of targeted therapies and those who have a poorer health status.


  • Chan, Alexandre
  • Chiang, Yu Yan
  • Low, Xiu Hui
  • Yap, Kevin Y
  • Ng, Raymond

publication date

  • 2013