Background Three different models are commonly used to provide palliative care services to cancer patients in Turkey: comprehensive palliative care center (CPCC), hospital inpatient services (HIS) and home healthcare (HHC). Objectives The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of three alternative palliative care models for cancer patients. Methods The study included a total of 160 patients diagnosed with cancer (CPCC:60, HIS:59, HHC:41). The patients' quality of life and their levels of satisfaction were used as the indicators of effectiveness, while direct and indirect costs incurred by service providers, patients and relatives were considered in estimating the costs of alternative models. The cost and effectiveness of the alternatives compared the "patient perspective" and "societal perspective" separately. Results From a societal perspective, palliative care services provided the HIS model was found to be more cost-effective than the CPCC model. From a patient perspective, HHC was found to be more cost-effective compared to the other two models. Conclusions This study has the potential to provide substantial evidence to health managers and decision-makers with respect to health planning and the formulation of social security policies in Turkey.