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Is Cancer Protection A Must-Have?

Denise Bay

Denise Bay

Last updated 28 March, 2022

As morbid as it may sound, cancer is the number one cause of death in Singapore

While not everyone prioritises cancer protection amidst life’s many demands, cancer insurance can be a lifesaver for you and your loved ones should you be unfortunately diagnosed with the illness.

The reality is that cancer incidences in Singapore are pretty high, and it’s not an uncommon illness. In fact, according to the Singapore Cancer Society, 1 in 4^ people will likely develop cancer in their lifetime.

To learn more about this deadly condition, read on to familiarise yourself with some facts about cancer, what a solid cancer protection plan looks like and your available options when it comes to affordable protection for all stages of cancer. 

Cancer facts everyone should know about 

#1 Cancer statistics

Did you know cancer accounts for close to 30% of deaths in Singapore each year? 

Colon-rectum cancer is the most common type of cancer for men, followed by prostate cancer, lung cancer and liver cancer. 

On the other hand, breast cancer is the most common for women, affecting close to a whopping 30% of women. Colon-rectum cancer, lung cancer and uterus cancer are among the top cancers affecting women in Singapore as well.

Last but not least, cancer drugs are becoming more expensive in Singapore. In fact, by 2030, Singapore is expected to spend S$2.7 billion on cancer drugs, seven times more than what was spent in 2019.

#2 Cancer doesn’t discriminate 

Cancer doesn’t just affect the old and frail — cancer can affect anyone and everyone regardless of their age, sex and ethnicity.

Case in point: Just last year in December, Park So-dam, who starred in the hit Korean movie Parasite, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the age of 30.

#3 Young people can get cancer, too

Different forms of cancer might also affect an individual's likelihood of getting it at a certain age. For instance, lymphomas are more common amongst individuals before the age of 25, whereas breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers more commonly plague those over the age of 25.

Other common forms of cancer that may affect young adults include thyroid, testicular, melanoma (skin), and brain and spinal cord tumors.

#4 Cancer insurance isn’t the same as critical illness insurance 

This is true even though there may be some overlaps. Critical illness insurance offers basic coverage for major illnesses such as Heart Attack of Specified Severity, Stroke and Major Cancers, whereas most cancer insurance provides targeted coverage for all forms of cancer (regardless of early, mid, or later stages of cancer).

Unlike cancer insurance, some critical illness insurance policies may not provide payouts for the early or mid stages of cancer, which means patients will have to use their savings to cover the costs of their treatment or to cover their daily expenses if they need to stop working.

#5 Cancer insurance covers a whole host of costs and expenses 

The majority of us would agree that the high medical costs in Singapore are the key driving force behind why many openly declare they’d “rather die than fall sick”. After all, such expenses snowball faster than you can blink. 

Homing in on cancer insurance, lump sum payouts come in handy to cover for (i) possible loss of income due to temporary or permanent inability to work, (ii) hefty medical treatment and medication costs, and (iii) non-medical costs such as caretaking expenses associated with the hiring of a maid or nurse.

Although hospital and surgical insurance may provide some forms of cash payouts, they are typically used to cover the cost of your hospital bills, and are not designed to help you defray any long term expenses, replace your lost income, or support your dependants.

It is also important to note that cancer treatment may take years before the patient enters remission. This means they could be without work or income during the prolonged recovery period.

Take note that the exact coverage you’ll enjoy will depend on the cancer insurance plan you’ve signed up for. 

What does a good cancer insurance plan look like? 

Lump sum cancer insurance payouts can go a long way in giving patients and their loved ones peace of mind as both medical and caretaking costs in Singapore are known to be exorbitant. Instead of depleting their savings, patients may use their lump sum payouts to help defray any costs and expenses while on the road to recovery.

Ergo, a good cancer insurance plan should cover your needs adequately by providing a payout for all cancer stages, including early and intermediate stages of cancer — while remaining pocket-friendly for the masses. 

Affordable, holistic cancer protection is available if you know where to look, as nobody should be denied the opportunity to obtain cancer protection. 

Check out Etiqa.

Etiqa has two distinct cancer insurance products for your consideration: Essential Cancer Care and Tiq Cancer Insurance.

Unlike critical illness insurance policies, these two products from Etiqa cover all stages of cancer, including the early stages of cancer – which makes them ideal for those who are looking for a well-rounded policy with comprehensive coverage.

Essential Cancer Care: Payout for all stages 

With premiums from as low as S$1.18 per day1 for up to S$250,000 coverage, Essential Cancer Care offers payout for all stages of cancer — with 50% sum insured upon diagnosis of early and intermediate stages of cancer and 100% sum insured upon diagnosis of severe stage cancer. 

One thoughtful touch woven into this carefully designed cancer insurance plan is that your policy will remain in force upon payout for an early or intermediate stage cancer. 

The remaining 50% sum insured will still be payable upon diagnosis of a severe stage cancer (if applicable). This undeniably offers peace of mind as you’ll still enjoy extended cancer protection from Etiqa without fear of being turned away by other insurance providers. 

That’s not all. Etiqa takes further care of you by providing an extra monthly payout of 1% of the sum insured for 12 months upon diagnosis of a severe stage cancer. 

Here is another interesting bit about Etiqa’s Essential Cancer Care. This term life plan is guaranteed renewable2 without proof of good health if you opt for the 5-year (renewable) or 10-year (renewable) policy term. 

Tiq Cancer Insurance: Full payout for all stages, including early-stage cancer

With premiums from as low as S$0.27 per day3, Tiq Cancer Insurance is a great choice if you’d like to keep yourself protected against all stages of cancer up to the ripe old age of 85. 

As a yearly renewable plan, Tiq Cancer Insurance provides flexibility for the policyholder to commit for a single year first and decide later if they will want to commit to a renewal.

Despite being so affordable, Tiq Cancer Insurance offers full payout for all stages of cancer. Plus, you get to enjoy 6% savings upon policy renewal if you remain in good health and avoid making any claims! Terms apply.

Is Cancer Protection A Necessity?  

There’s no right or wrong answer, really. However, consider your family history before you brush off cancer protection as a good-to-have instead of a must-have. 

Do you have loved ones around you who have had cancer before? If one has a family history of cancer, cancer insurance is non-negotiable! 

In any case, it pays to obtain health insurance protection as early as possible regardless of your family history, the demographic you belong to and whether or not you have dependents.

Why? The longer you wait to get health insurance coverage, the more likely pre-existing health conditions can become massive, expensive roadblock​​s. It can also be incredibly difficult (and costly) to obtain adequate health insurance protection after being diagnosed with a health condition!

In conclusion, cancer should not be taken lightly and there are affordable cancer insurance policies out there to help you cover the rising costs of treatment in the unfortunate event of a cancer diagnosis. Costing less than your Netflix subscription, having cancer insurance is truly a small price to pay for a better peace of mind.

This article is written in partnership with Etiqa. 

1Premium is based on a 5-year renewable term plan for a male aged 17 years, non-smoker and a sum insured of S$250,000.

2Please refer to the policy provisions for full details of the terms and conditions.

3Premium is based on S$50,000 sum insured for a 20-year-old, male non-smoker.

Age means the age at next birthday.

These policies are underwritten by Etiqa Insurance Pte. Ltd (UEN: 201331905K).​ This content is for reference only and is not a contract of insurance. Full details of the policy terms and conditions can be found in the policy contract.​

As these products have no savings or investment feature, there is no cash value if the policy ends or if the policy is terminated prematurely. You should seek advice from a financial adviser before deciding to purchase the policy. If you choose not to seek advice, you should consider if the policy is suitable for you. The information contained on this product advertisement is intended to be valid in Singapore only and shall not be construed as an offer to sell or solicitation to buy or provision of any insurance product outside Singapore.

​These policies are protected under the Policy Owners’ Protection Scheme which is administered by the Singapore Deposit Insurance Corporation (SDIC). Coverage for your policy is automatic and no further action is required from you. For more information on the types of benefits that are covered under the scheme as well as the limits of coverage, where applicable, please contact us or visit the Life Insurance Association (LIA) or SDIC websites ( or

This advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Information is correct as at 28 March 2022.

Read these next
5 Critical Things You Need to Know About Cancer Insurance
5 Best Cancer Insurance Plans In Singapore
Critical Illness Plans vs Early Critical Illness Plans: Which Should You Get
Critical Illness vs Cancer Insurance Plans: A Critical Comparison
Money Confessions: What Would You Do Differently If You Could Restart Your Personal Finance Journey From 10 Years Ago?

While Denise has a thing for travel, K-dramas, 0% sugar bbt (with boba!), Japanese cuisine and flat white, her curious nature means all sorts of random tabs are open on her phone 24/7. She doesn’t like to pay full price for anything, too.


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