Did you know that 51.5% of cancer cases reported in Singapore are in women? And, between 2014 and 2018, 12,706 women in Singapore died of cancer? These stats are derived from The Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report (2018).
Records show a worrying trend. Over the last 50 years, the number of cancer cases has risen sharply among Chinese and Malay women in Singapore. Among Chinese women, the incidence rate rose from 158.5 to 235.0 per 100,000 population. For Malay women, this figure more than doubled, from 98.5 to 222.7. The rate of cancer among Indian women remained relatively stable, from 181.9 to 186.4.
The three most common cancers for women in Singapore are:
1. Breast (29.3%)
2. Colorectal (13.3%)
3. Lung (7.5%)
Other cancers that make up the top 10 cancers among women in Singapore are: uterus (7.2%), ovary (4.9%), lymphoid neoplasms (such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma) (4.7%), non-melanoma skin (4.1%), thyroid (3.9%), stomach (3%) and cervix (2.8%).
For men in Singapore, the top cancers are:
1. Colorectal (16.9%)
2. Prostate (14.8%)
3. Lung (14%)
With World Cancer Day being marked on February 4 every year, it’s a timely reminder for us to keep a close eye on cancer risk factors, plus ways to prevent it.
What are the risk factors?
Clinical Assistant Professor Tanujaa D/O Rajasekaran, Consultant, Division of Medical Oncology, National Cancer Centre Singapore, explains that it’s not usually possible to know exactly why one person develops cancer and another does not. However, research has shown that certain risk factors may increase a person’s chances of developing cancer.
She lists some of these risk factors for the top three cancers among women in Singapore: