About Cancer

Preventive Care || Nutrition in Cancer Care || Managing Side Effects || Breast Cancer || Lung Cancer

Colorectal Cancer || Leukemia || Lymphoma || Coping with Cancer || Taking Time



Cancer is one of the most devastating diseases worldwide. The top five most common types are lung, breast, colorectal, stomach and liver. Around the world, more than 10 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year. But with advancements in cancer treatments, those affected can take heart in knowing that they can be successfully cured (World Health Organisation World Cancer Report 2003, International Agency for Research on Cancer).

Through CanHOPE's cancer care service, help is ready and available.

Types of Cancers


What Is Breast Cancer?

Breast Cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are detected in the tissues of the breast. These cancer cells can then spread within the tissue or organ and to other parts of the body.

It is the second leading cause of death in women today. In Singapore almost every 1 in 20 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Chinese women have a higher risk compared to Malay or Indian by about 10-20%. The highest incidence is in the 55-59 years age group. The risk of breast cancer increases with age. The good news is that more women are surviving the disease as a result of earlier detection and improved treatment.

The triggering factors of this cancer are unknown. It could be attributed to a family history of breast cancer, early menarche or other possible risk factors. As it is difficult to ascertain, any one of us can be at risk, especially when we are aged 40 and above. While the factors are unknown, a complete cure is possible with early detection through regular breast checks.


What Is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in men and the 3rd most common cancer in women in Singapore. Men have a 3 times higher risk of lung cancer than women. Among the three major ethnic groups, the Chinese have the highest risk, followed by the Malays and Indians.

There are two main types of lung cancer:

1. Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) NSCLC is the more common type of lung cancer, and is less aggressive than SCLC. NSCLC tends to grow and spread more slowly. If discovered early, surgery and/or radiation therapy, chemotherapy may offer a chance of cure.

2. Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) SCLC is fast-growing and rapidly spreads to the bloodstream and other parts of the body. Often, it is an advanced disease when diagnosed. It is usually treated with chemotherapy and not surgery.


What Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal Cancer is also otherwise known as colon cancer or bowel cancer. It refers to a growth that first forms inside the colon or the rectum.

It is the most common cancer in Singapore. The incidence of this cancer has been steadily increasing in both males and females. Singapore has one of the highest incidence of this cancer in Asia together with Taiwan, Japan and Australia. The good news is that the number of deaths from colorectal cancer has been dropping for the last 15 years. This is because more people are going for regular screening, which can detect colorectal cancers early. Treatment for colorectal cancer has also improved, allowing for patients to be treated more effectively. Early detection of colorectal cancer can normally lead to a complete cure.

There is no single cause of colorectal cancer, as in most cases, colon cancers begin as a polyp that develops into a cancerous growth.


What Is Leukemia?

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Blood cells are produced in the bone marrow, each with a special function. White blood cells help fight infections, red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body and platelets help clotting to control bleeding.

Normally, cells grow and divide to form new cells. These new cells replace old ones, as they deteriorate over time and eventually die. Sometimes this orderly process goes wrong. New cells form when the body does not need them, and old cells do not die when they should. In leukemia, the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells that eventually crowd out other cells.

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