Treatment by stage of cancer
A cancer diagnosis is accompanied with the cancer’s stage of progression. Cancer develops when the body produces too many cells and old or abnormal cells do not die off as they should. These additional or aberrant cells crowd out the body’s normal cells, making it difficult for the body to operate normally. Despite the fact that there are numerous types of cancer, doctors use staging to track the disease’s course. It’s crucial to know what stage of cancer someone has in order to plan treatment. Furthermore, it might educate the doctor about the severity of the cancer and the patient’s chances of survival.
The doctor may request x-rays, laboratory testing, and other tests or procedures to determine the stage of disease. The doctor may also examine the tumour samples if the patient has had cancer surgery. Before any treatment, the stage of cancer must be established. When cancer appears to have recurred or relapsed, however, it is occasionally necessary to reschedule the patient. This allows doctors to revisit and assess treatment regimens, making changes as needed.
Most cancers can be broadly classified into five stages, depending on the severity of the spread of cancer:
- Stage 0 – Cancer that has not yet become invasive (i.e. carcinoma-in-situ). Patients at this stage have good prognosis, and can often be cured with just surgery alone.
- Stage 1 – Usually a small tumour that is growing only at a single area
- Stage 2 – Usually a bigger tumour at a single area, sometimes with involvement of nearby lymph nodes
- Stage 3 – A much larger tumour with more extensive involvement of either the adjacent tissue or lymph nodes, but is still confined to a single area and has not spread to other parts of the body
- Stage 4 – Cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body
Cancer treatment in Singapore
Surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy are some of the most prevalent cancer treatments. Some cancer patients will have only one treatment, but the majority will receive a mix of treatments, such as surgery along with chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The following are some of the most popular cancer therapy options:
Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It works against cancer by stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.
When used to treat cancer, surgery is a procedure in which a surgeon removes cancer cells from the body.
Radiation therapy uses high doses of radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumours.
Immunotherapy helps your immune system fight cancer by aiding the immune system in better acting against the cancer. It is a type of biological therapy, which refers to treatment that uses substances made from living organisms to treat cancer.
Stem cell transplant
Stem cell transplants help to restore stem cells in people who have had their stem cells destroyed by high doses of chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These stem cells eventually grow into healthy blood cells.
Hormone therapy is a treatment that slows or stops the growth of some cancers which propagate by using hormones in the body, such as breast or prostate cancers.
Photodynamic therapy uses a drug that is activated by light to kill cancer cells.
The choice of treatment may depend on the careful consideration of various factors which have the potential to affect treatment. Some factors are:
Type of cancer
Each type of cancer has different characteristics, which would imply they require different treatment options. For example, hormone therapy may be selected in the case of breast cancer, due to the nature of hormone involvement in the growth of the cancer.
Goal of treatment
Is the goal to abolish cancer completely? Or is the goal to keep the cancer under watchful control? Maybe the goal of treatment is to prioritise the patient’s comfort and ease the pain of treatment. The goal of treatment will help to inform the type of treatment to be undertaken.
In considering treatment, how and where the patient is at the point of treatment can affect the type of treatment selected. Some of these include the patient’s age, risk tolerance for treatment, existing medical conditions like diabetes or other health issues, life circumstances, values and beliefs.
Are there existing family members who can care for the patient while he or she undergoes treatment? Is the patient presently being employed? These factors can affect treatment decisions as well.
Cost of cancer treatment in Singapore
When you’re diagnosed with cancer, you’re bound to have a lot of questions. One of the most common concerns that patients have is the cost of treatment. Cancer treatment is typically thought to be costly due to the severity and duration of treatment, as well as the risk of consequences. While cancer treatment can be costly, the cost of cancer treatment in Singapore can vary depending on not only the type of cancer but also where you choose to receive treatment. The average cost of cancer treatment in Singapore is broken down by cancer type and treatment type.
Cost of biopsies
In public and subsidized hospital wards and clinics, the average cost of a biopsy for the most common forms of malignancies is S$1,044. A biopsy in a private hospital or clinic can cost up to S$5,833 at the high end of the spectrum. Skin cancer biopsy is the cheapest, costing an average of S$492 in a public subsidized ward. A lung cancer biopsy is the most expensive, costing an average of S$1,793 in a public subsidized ward. Private hospital biopsies are, as predicted, more expensive, costing 2 to 5 times as much as public hospital biopsies. While a biopsy in a B1 or A ward is 95-158 percent more expensive than one in a subsidised hospital ward, it is roughly 70% less expensive than one in a private hospital.
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Cost of cancer surgery in Singapore
Surgery for five common cancers costs an average of S$2,810 in a public subsidized ward and S$32,663 in a private hospital. A subsidized public hospital ward costs 80% less than an unsubsidized public hospital unit. Care in an unsubsidized public ward, on the other hand, is 56% less expensive than treatment in a private hospital.
Cost of radiation therapy in Singapore
Radiation therapy in Singapore costs between S$25,000 and S$30,000 on average. Proton treatment, a novel type of radiation therapy, is expected to be accessible in 2020. Patients who qualify for subsidies will pay S$13,000 for this procedure, which will consist of six 15-30 minute sessions spread out over six weeks.
The entire cost of radiation therapy, like chemotherapy, is determined by the number of sessions required. Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays to shrink or eliminate tumours. External beam radiation therapy and internal radiation therapy are the two basic types of radiation therapy.
Cost of immunotherapy
Immunotherapy (sometimes known as biological therapy) is a relatively recent cancer treatment approach. Immunotherapy medications are costly, with each dose costing an average of S$9,000. The typical cost of a year’s worth of treatment ranges between S$156,000 and S$234,000 because the dose is given every two to three weeks.
The immune system destroys cancer cells in this method of treatment. Immunotherapy works by allowing a type of antibody known as a checkpoint inhibitor to disrupt checkpoint proteins on cancer cells that prevent immune cells from destroying them. Immunotherapy has been approved for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, advanced melanoma, bladder cancer, and non-small cell lung cancer, among other cancers.
Top hospitals for cancer treatment in Singapore
These are the best hospitals for cancer treatment in Singapore:
- Mount Elizabeth Hospital
- Parkway East Hospital
- Gelneagles Hospital
- National Cancer Centre
- National University Hospital