Hi, I am Shari, daughter of Jaya Kumari who has been diagnosed with HER2 Breast Cancer in November last year. She had signed up for a volunteer program and as part of the routine check-up for volunteers, the attending doctor had detected a lump on her left breast and recommended she visit the Polyclinic for follow up. The doctor at the Polyclinic referred her to Seng Kang General Hospital where a mammogram and biopsy initially revealed Stage 2 HER2 invasive cancer.
Further scans also revealed that there was a small lesion in the lung. There is a possibility that the lesion is either benign, Stage 1 Lung Cancer or a metastasized Breast Cancer (Making it Stage 4). It was decided that chemotherapy had to begin immediately as treatment had already been delayed due to the various tests and scans done since the lesion was still very small.
HER2-positive Breast Cancer is much rarer than other forms, making up 20% of confirmed cases. It does not respond as well to general chemotherapy (but this is still administered for the first 3 months to slow down the cancer cell spread) or hormone therapy as the other forms and it is also much more aggressive and fast growing. The oncologist has recommended 17 cycles of a HER2 targeted therapy (Herceptin and Perjeta) which has tested more effective in HER2-positive tumour treatment, in conjunction with the general chemotherapy (Paclitaxel which is a few hundred dollars weekly). Herceptin and Perjeta, however, is patented and hence the cost is very high. One cycle (Once every 3 weeks) cost $15055.83 (Attached is a bill for just one of the cycles).
There are still other costs like scans(done throughout chemotherapy to check for improvements, heart scans are done every 3 months and cost $340, and MRIs, Ultrasounds and bone scans are done about once every 2 cycles and range from $1000 to to $3000 per scan), surgery (Estimated at $6000), blood tests (done weekly for the first 3 months ansd subsequently will be reduced to once every two or three months, one test costs $200) and doctor appointments (Usually weekly and costs around $100 per visit). We can claim only $3000 a month from Medishield Life and though my mother has some Medisave, the estimated costs way exceeds the balance. As we are Singapore PRs, we are not eligible for any of the financial aid schemes available.
My mother had used a lot of the funds in her Medisave for my father’s eye operations and his foot infection treatment (He’s Type 2 Diabetic) as his Medisave had been completely utilised. His leg injury is still not healed and he has to go to the polyclinic thrice a week for wound dressing. Our family is facing a lot of financial difficulties as my younger sister is still a student and my mother and I are working as tuition centre teachers and only a few of our tuitions are being conducted by us online ( due to the lockdown for Covid-19). I have applied for full time work to generate more income but have not got any callbacks for interviews.
My mother is also unable to do all the things she normally does due to her health and the side-effects of chemotherapy.
She will need to undergo a few more scans to assess the lesion in her lung for malignancy and also a mastectomy, after which she will have to continue her Her2 Targeted therapies for 13 cycles (about 9 months).
Our family is in deep distress as my mother makes all the difference in our family and we would like her to concentrate on her recovery and not to be so stressed on the financial burden. We appeal to your generosity to donate whatever you can to lessen the burden we are facing. We understand that with the Covid-19 and circuit breaker measures implemented, a lot of families are facing difficulties so we request you to donate whatever you are able. After all, little drops of water make the mighty ocean. Please do include her in your prayers. Thank you and best regards