End-of-life cost trajectories and the trade-off between treatment costs and life-extension: Findings from the Cost and Medical Care of Patients with Advanced Serious Illness (COMPASS) cohort study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Few studies have assessed how patient preferences influence end-of-life costs.


To estimate mean monthly healthcare costs in 2019 Singapore Dollars (SGD) at five time points within the last year of life and identify how patients' preferences for the trade-off between treatment cost containment and life-extension and other factors affect these costs.


Mean monthly costs were quantified in the last 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12-months before death. Univariate and multivariate analyses were conducted.


Billing records for 286 deceased participants in the Cost and Medical Care of Patients with Advanced Serious Illness (COMPASS) cancer cohort study in Singapore.


Mean monthly costs were $5140 (95% CI: $4750; $5520) in the 12-months before death and rose to $8350 (95% CI: $7110; $9590) 1-month before death. Participants preferring higher cost containment/less life-extension defied the trend of increasing costs closer to death (mean monthly costs of $4630 (95% CI: $3690; $ 5580) and $4850 (95% CI: $2850; $6850) (12-months and 1-month before death respectively). Participants preferring lower cost containment/more life-extension had costs that were $1050 (95% CI: $49; $2051) and $5220 (95% CI: $2320; $8130) higher than those preferring lower costs/less life-extension 12-months and 1-month before death respectively.


On average, cancer patients in Singapore can expect to spend $61,680 in the last year of life. Of broader relevance is that patient preferences and other observable factors clearly influence these costs, suggesting that policymakers and patients can better predict and budget for end-of-life costs by considering these factors.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Doble, B; Wong, WHM; Finkelstein, E; COMPASS study team,

Published Date

  • May 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 893 - 903

PubMed ID

  • 33730947

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1477-030X

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0269-2163

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0269216321999576


  • eng