Cancer Treatment in Hong Kong: Public vs. Private and Costs
27th April 2023
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According to data from the Department of Health, cancer has been the leading cause of death in Hong Kong for the past two decades. Being diagnosed with cancer is a serious issue. It should be treated as soon as possible before it further grows and spreads. Alea provides you with this guide, which includes all the information about cancer treatment options in Hong Kong.
Cancer statistics in Hong Kong
Data from the Department of Health shows that in 2020, cancer represented more than 30% of deaths in Hong Kong. Around 195 people (out of every 100,000 population) died of cancer that year, an alarming increase from 169 per 100,000 people in 2001.
The Hong Kong Cancer Registry under the Hospital Authority presents the 5 most common cancer types in 2019:
- Lung Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Liver Cancer
According to 2019 data from the Hong Kong Cancer Registry, while breast cancer mostly affected women (especially among the ages of 20 to 74), lung cancer and colorectal cancer were the top 2 cancers for men (especially from the age of 45).
Most new cases of cancer in 2019 found in both genders aged from 0 to 19 were caused by Leukemia.
You can visit this website to know more about the key figures of cancer in Hong Kong, as well as the biology of cancer.
Cancer treatment costs in Hong Kong's public sector
Important: there are three types of fees and charges within the public sector. Generally, public hospitals charge much cheaper than private ones.
Public Charges – Eligible Persons (Hong Kong residents with a valid Hong Kong identity card):
- Inpatient: HK$120 per day
- General Outpatient: HK$50 per attendance
- Day Procedure and Treatment at Clinical Oncology Clinic: HK$96 per attendance
- Drugs: General drugs for free; special drugs are charged at HK$15 per unit for each drug; self-financed drugs are charged at cost plus an HK$105 administrative charge per drug item dispensed
Public Charges – Non-eligible Persons:
- Inpatient: HK$5,100 per day
- General Outpatient: HK$445 per attendance
- Day Procedure and Treatment at Clinical Oncology Clinic: HK$895 per attendance
- There are private services available in the public sector. Every public hospital has private rooms available, but there are only a few. This means that you may not be able to have access to a private room. Private room costs within public hospitals vary from one hospital to another and are similar to private sector hospitals.
For details, please call the Hospital Authority at 2300 6555.
* Beware that due to the large number of patients handled in the public sector, there may be long delays to start cancer treatment. In the past years, there have been several publicized cases of cancer patients who could not rapidly get treated in Hong Kong's public hospitals.
* All amounts were last updated in October, 2021. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.
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Cancer treatment costs in Hong Kong's private sector
Currently, there are 13 private hospitals in Hong Kong. For general outpatient service, they might charge anywhere between HK$180 to HK$800 per attendance. In specialist clinics inside the hospitals (such as Oncology Clinic), you might need to pay HK$540 to HK$2,000 each attendance for doctor's consultation only.
There was a case in which a patient was charged HK$160,000 for a seven-day treatment, plus HK$37,800 every month for medications.
Chemotherapy treatment can reach as much as HK$700,000 in the most expensive private hospitals.
In the past 2 years, the average cost of cancer treatment in Hong Kong was about US$81,000 (around HK$628,000) per treatment. Our exclusive research conducted with healthcare and insurance providers showed an ongoing case reaching US$800,000 (about HK$6,200,600) in cancer treatment costs in Hong Kong so far.
You can check out the room rates through our guide to Hong Kong's 13 private hospitals, and here is a useful guide to oncologists (cancer specialists) in Hong Kong.
We have prepared a useful summary for you to check the details of the respective clinic/department/centre of the hospitals regarding their charges:
|**Canossa Hospital (Caritas)**||Click here for more details |
Call 2825 5805 or 2825 5806
|CUHK Medical Centre||Click here for more details |
Call 3946 6388
|**Evangel Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 2711 5222
|Gleneagles Hospital||Click here for more details |
Call 2122 1333
|Hong Kong Adventist Hospital, Stubbs Road||Click here for more details |
Call 3651 8833
|**Hong Kong Baptist Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 2339 8500
|**Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 2835 8877
|**Matilda International Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 2849 0355
|**Precious Blood Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 3971 9980
|**St. Paul's Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 2830 8888
|**St. Teresa's Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 2200 3193 or 2711 6700
|**Tsuen Wan Adventist Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 2275 6888
|**Union Hospital**||Click here for more details |
Call 2608 3383
*It is very important to keep in mind that in Hong Kong, private medical fees are not subject to regulation or standardization.
*All amounts were last updated in October, 2021. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.
Public vs Private: How to choose?
When deciding to choose whether to use the public or private sector, there are few things to consider:
- Cost - As shown above, it is significantly higher in the private sector.
- Waiting time - You can expect to wait much longer in public hospitals than the private ones.
- Service - While doctors and medical staff in both sectors are qualified and well-trained, private hospitals usually offer a variety of packages to improve patients' experience and comfort level during their stays.
- Freedom of choice - In the private sector, you can choose the doctor and hospital you prefer; whereas for the public sector, you must seek treatments in your cluster, the doctors and nurses on call on the day of your treatment will be at your service.
You have the complete freedom to decide which sector to choose. However, in order to be treated for such an unpredictable disease in the fastest time possible, getting yourself health insurance is recommended, so that the private sector can become an option for you if an urgent treatment is needed.
Are cancer treatment costs covered by insurance?
Cancer surgeries are usually reimbursed under hospital/surgical benefits whereas chemotherapy/radiation therapies are usually reimbursed under cancer cover. Generally, high-end medical plans will reimburse cancer treatments in full without any sub-limit whereas local plans will have sub-limits.
Another option would be critical illness insurance, which provides a lump sum benefit upon diagnosis of cancer or other defined critical health conditions. Once insured, you can use the reimbursement in any way you prefer: on costly medical treatments, family living expenses, rents or otherwise.
Our team has unique expertise and extensive experience in medical insurance, both with local and international plans, for individuals and families, and employee benefits insurance.
If you want to check your current coverage, improve or have any insurance questions, contact an Alea advisor.
Read our article on insurance for cancer protection to learn your options!
What types of cancer treatment are there?
Main cancer treatments include:
- radiation therapy
- targeted therapy
- hormone therapy
- stem cell transplant
How much does chemotherapy cost in Hong Kong?
The cost of chemotherapy can shoot up to HK$700,000 in Hong Kong's private hospitals, and around HK$40,000 at a public hospital.
Medication fees may not be included.
Does my health insurance cover cancer treatments?
Yes. Depending on the type(s) of treatment required, it may be covered under surgical or cancer cover. However, for local plans, a sub-limit may be applied, in contrary to high-end health insurance plans which covers cancer treatment costs completely.
Should you have any enquiries, feel free to chat with our advisors for more information.
Our advisors help you save time, money & worries. Contact us!
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This article was independently written by Alea and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.