About Smoking

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), smoking has been found to be related to 6 million deaths worldwide annually. 14 types of cancer are related to smoking. 90% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking.

In Singapore, tobacco kills approximately 2,500 smokers and 250 non-smokers each year (based on the World No Tobacco Day information paper). There is a high percentage of smokers among Singapore residents aged between 18 to 69. Tobacco is known to cause several types of cancer such as lung, oral and nasopharynx cancer. Most of these cancers were among the top common cancers diagnosed in Singapore residents between 2010 to 2014.

A cigarette alone contains over 7,000 chemicals and in these chemicals, 70 of them are cancer causing substances.

Smoking is the most preventable cause of death and we would like to encourage all to stay smoke free.


1. World No Tobacco Day Information Paper, National Registry of Diseases Office 25 May 2015

2. Singapore Cancer Registry, Annual Registry Report, Trends in Cancer Incidence, 2010 - 2014

    About Smoking 01 
Category: Cancer Basics


Are you experiencing any urinary symptoms? How serious is it?

Take this test to determine the severity of your urinary symptoms. 


The I-PSS score is more commonly used to determine the severity of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms(LUTS), which is typically caused by Benign Prostate Hyperplasia(BPH) or an enlarged prostate) but may also be caused by advanced prostate cancer. 

It cannot and does not substitute a consultation with a general practitioner or urologist.

Having no or mild symptoms (low score) does not exclude urinary cancers. that men who are concerned about prostate cancer regardless of symptoms should discuss with their doctors about prostate cancer testing.


What is I-PSS ?

The International Prostate Symptom Score (I-PSS) is based on the answers to seven questions concerning urinary symptoms (namely Incomplete emptying, Frequency, Intermittency Urgency, Weak Stream, Straining and Nocturia) and one question concerning quality of life.

Each question concerning urinary symptoms allows the patient to choose one out of six answers indicating increasing severity of the particular symptom. The answers are assigned points from 0 to 5.

The total score can therefore range from 0 to 35 (asymptomatic to very symptomatic).

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The first seven questions of the I-PSS are identical to the questions appearing on the American Urological Association (AUA) Symptom Index which currently categorizes symptoms as follows: 



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Do share the results of this the test with your GP or urologist.  

Category: Cancer Basics


There is no single exact cause of cancer. Like many diseases, cancer occurrence is due to a combination of different reasons. Here are some known causes of cancer.


1. Your Genetic Makeup

If a particular type of cancer is common in your family, you may have been born with genetic mutations that put you at a higher risk of developing certain cancers. Some cancers, like breast and colorectal cancer, tend to be hereditary. However, having an inherited genetic mutation doesn't mean that you will definitely get cancer later in life; approximately 5 to 10 per cent of all cancers are directly caused by inherited genetic mutations.

What can you do?

If you have a strong family history of cancer, discuss it with your doctor. Genetic testing might be useful to check if you have inherited genetic mutations that might increase your cancer risk. However, these tests are not recommended for everyone. Seek your doctor's advice.




2. Smoking

Tobacco smoke contains at least 69 carcinogens (cancer-causing agents). Smoking increases your risk of getting certain cancers such as lung and oral cancer, as well as cancers of the stomach, kidney and bladder. Any form of tobacco smoking is harmful to your health. Studies show that smoking just one to four cigarettes a day can lead to health problems.

Second-hand smoke is just as damaging to health. When a cigarette is lit, about 90 per cent of its smoke is released into the air and becomes second-hand smoke. Even if you don't smoke, breathing in another person's smoke can increase your risk of lung cancer.

What can you do?

Quit smoking. If quitting immediately sounds daunting, consider cutting down on the number of cigarettes you smoke daily. Cigarette smoke not only harms you but also increases the risk of lung cancer for your loved ones. Get professional help to quit or rope in your family and friends to support you.




3. Sun and UV Exposure

Although people associate a tanned complexion with good health, frequent direct exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation – either by being out in the sun or from artificial sources like a tanning bed – can damage your skin and increase your risk of getting skin cancer.

A sunburn is your skin's response to excessive UV exposure. If you are fair-skinned, you are at a higher risk of skin cancer than someone with a darker skin tone. This is because fair skin has less melanin, a pigment that protects the skin from UV rays.

Singapore has one of the world's highest UV exposure rates. On days with little cloud cover, it is common for UV radiation in Singapore to reach very high to extreme levels between 11.00am and 3.00pm.

What can you do?

Prevent sunburns and avoid excessive sun exposure. Stay in the shade if possible. When out and about under the sun, use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 on exposed parts of your body. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that provide UV protection. If you're exposed to artificial sources of UV radiation at work, always follow the safety regulations.




4. Radiation Exposure

Every day, we are exposed to both natural and man-made forms of radiation. Radiation can also come from medical imaging procedures used for X-rays and CT scans. Excessive exposure to radiation can potentially cause cells in the body to undergo changes. This may increase your likelihood of developing cancer.

Sometimes, an X-ray or CT scan is needed to help your doctor diagnose your medical condition. Radiation exposure from different sources can accumulate over time, but a one-off test is unlikely to increase your risk of cancer.

What can you do?

During these imaging tests, you can protect yourself from unnecessary radiation exposure by following safety measures such as using a lead apron. Share your concerns with your doctor.



past cancers

5. Previous Cancer Treatments

Advances in cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy have helped many people with cancer live longer. But they may also possibly increase your risk of another cancer in the future.

However, this is rare and should not affect your decision to seek appropriate treatment. It is important to first treat the cancer you have. For some cancers, radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be the best treatment option.

What can you do?

Share your concerns with your doctor. If you have completed cancer treatment, follow-up care and rehabilitation is important.

Category: Cancer Basics


cancer cell

The term cancer refers to a group of diseases. Although there are over 100 different types of cancer, all cancers are characterised by abnormal cell growth. If left untreated, this disease can lead to death.


How Cancer Starts

Your body is made up of trillions of living cells. Within each cell are genes that control and direct the cell’s functions. Normal cells continuously grow and divide. Over time, they die and are replaced by new ones.

In most people, this natural cell replacement occurs in an orderly and organised manner. However, this process sometimes breaks down. Unlike normal healthy cells, cancer cells do not die. Instead, they continue to grow and divide in an uncontrollable manner. These defective cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumour.


What Are Tumours

Tumours can be benign or malignant. Tumours that stay in one location and do not spread to other parts of the body are considered to be benign. These are not cancerous and are rarely life-threatening although they can sometimes cause problems, especially when they grow too big.

On the other hand, malignant tumours can destroy and invade other normal tissues in your body, making you very sick. However, not all types of cancer form tumours. For instance, tumours are uncommon in leukaemia. These are cancers that typically start in the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream.


When Cancer Spreads

Cancer cells can spread when they migrate to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems, forming new tumours. This process is called metastasis. Even when cancer spreads, it is always named based on where it first occurred. For instance, cancer that begins in the breast is called breast cancer. If it spreads to other parts of the body, like the liver or bone, it is called metastatic breast cancer.

With so many different cancers, it is important for you to know which type of cancer you have so that you can receive the right treatment.


Category: Cancer Basics


During the period from 2014 - 2018, an average of 41 people are diagnosed with cancer every day, and 15 people die from cancer every day.  1 in 4 people may develop cancer in their lifetime.* The good news is, with early detection and treatment, you can have better clinical/management outcomes.


Ten most common cancers affecting men & women (2014 - 2018)

Men No. of cases   Women No. of cases
Colon & rectum  6,129   Breast 11,232
Prostate 5,368   Colorectal & rectum 5,109
Lung 5,083   Lung 2,862
Liver 2,758   Corpus uteri (uterus) 2,769
Lymphoid neoplasms 2,358   Ovary & fallopian tube 1,897
Non-melanoma skin 1,975   Lymphoid neoplasms 1,809
Stomach 1,605   Non-melanoma skin 1,568
Kidney 1,494   Thyroid 1,483
Myeloid neoplasms 1,232   Stomach 1,160
Pancreas 1,119   Cervix uteri 1,088

(Source: Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report 2018: Singapore Cancer Registry 50th Anniversary Monograph 1968-2017)


Knowledge is power. Equip yourself with these key learning points about cancer and how to reduce your risk.


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Category: Cancer Basics