Cancer in Singapore

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Image by Kim Dever Thibodeaux / Kim_in_CajunCountry via Flickr

Ok I promised that after I wrote on the topic of the biggest cancer killers in the States that I would focus on what is the most common here in Singapore.  So please compare the list below to the one I gave last week about US cancer statistics.  The top cancers in men living in Singapore are:

Colorectal (3902 males), Lung, Prostrate, Liver, Stomach, Nasopharynx, Skin, Lymphoma, Bladder and Leukemia (674)

For women it’s a different story:

Breast (6798), Colorectal, Lung, Uterine, Ovary, Cervix, Stomach, Skin, Lymphoma, and Thyroid (645)

This information is provided by the Singapore cancer registry and represents five years worth of data (2003-2007 and the next report is due to be out in 2012/2013).  Women due to breast cancer are getting diagnosed far more frequently than men with cancer.  However, due to successful removal of the tumor or the entire breast, many of these women are cured of their cancers.  So, the overall death rate from cancer is still higher in men than in women.  One of the biggest differences we see today between the cancer that kill people now compared to what killed people before is the absence of lung cancer from the list.  This is of course due to smoking and campaigns designed to teach people about the huge cancer risk associated with smoking tobacco products.  Thus, lung used to be the number one cancer killer in both men and women and it has now moved to number 2 or 3.  I suspect this number will keep going down as more and more effective anti smoking campaigns are promoted.  Deaths due to cancer overall have been going up for many years now.  As it was only about 14% if deaths due to cancer in 1968 it is now close to 30% of all deaths that are due to cancer and that number is likely to go up as people live longer.  As we are able to cure and or treat some cancer better than others, these numbers will constantly shift. 

For more basic information on cancer please do see my web site at

 Dr. C


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