Most Common Types of Cancer in Singapore

According to a report by the Singapore Cancer Registry from 2010 to 2014, cancer is the number one cause of death in Singapore followed by heart diseases and pneumonia. Knowing the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the country could help prevention, early detection and possible treatment.

Breast Cancer
Breast cancer accounts for 29% of diagnosed cases among women. Early detection can save a life and you can start by looking for changes in the appearance of the breasts such as color, size and shape. If there is swelling, changes in the nipples, and dimpling or puckering you should go to the doctor for additional tests. You can also try to feel for lumps with your fingers.

To learn what stage your cancer is at, the TNM standard is used. T means tumor size; N is for the number and location of cancerous lymph nodes; and M is for metastases or if cancer has spread in the body. Mammography and examination of lymph nodes and tumor tissues are used to determine the stage of the cancer. There are 5 stages of breast cancer, the first (0) is called ductal carcinoma in situ and the fourth (4) is metastatic breast cancer.

Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer primarily affects the colon or rectum, both of which are part of the large intestine. The colon absorbs the nutrients and water and separate the waste matter. The waste moves to the rectum and leaves the body through the anus. Problems begin when the polyps that form in the wall of the rectum or colon become cancerous.

If you have polyps called adenomas and inflammatory bowel disease, you are at risk of colon or rectal cancer. Those who drink alcohol, smoke, and/or are obese at also at risk. There are screening tests for colorectal cancer such as fecal occult blood tests, stool DNA test, sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy.

Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the number one cancer killer for both males and females in the country. There are two types of cancer determined by the appearance of the tumors. Unfortunately, there is no effective treatment for lung cancer.

Smokers are at high risk as well as those exposed to secondhand smoke. Other possible cause is prolonged exposure to some chemicals and radiation. The patient has a cough that worsens and never goes away, blood in sputum, chest pain, trouble breathing, hoarseness and swollen neck or face. It can be diagnosed through physical exams, laboratory tests, X-ray, bronchoscopy, and tissue biopsy.

Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer can be treated, but usually it shows no symptoms at an early stage. Later however, the person may experience problems in urinating, erectile dysfunction, blood in urine, back and hip pain, and loss of bladder and bowel control. Tests like digital rectal exam, biopsy and examining the prostate-specific antigen are done.

Various options such as surgery, cryotherapy, hormone therapy, vaccine treatment, radiation, chemotherapy and bone-directed treatment are used, some in combination.