Blood cancer patients may opt for outpatient bone marrow transplants at a lower cost as a MediShield Life Review Committee reviews on the extension the coverage to outpatient treatment.
Outpatient stem cell transplant treatment for myeloma or blood cancer patients has been available at the National University Cancer Institute Singapore (NCIS) since 2011. However, Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director of NCIS and professor at NUS Medicine’s Department of Medicine, said that the bulk of the patients who took this up were foreigners, and Singaporean patients have avoided this option due to high treatment costs.
Prof Chng would like to expand outpatient stem cell treatment to lymphoma patients who will hopefully be covered by insurance. He would also like to move cancer treatments from hospitals to the comfort of patient’s home or to community settings. This will allow more patients to receive treatment, reduce risks of infections and save time for both patients and caregivers.