Patients' Resources

According to the World Health Organization, lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer deaths in the world; accounting for 1.59 million deaths in 2012.  In Singapore, one out of five persons who died of cancer had lung cancer.

Smoking is the primary cause of lung cancer. The question is, does this mean that people who don’t smoke are not going to develop this disease?

Find out about what lung cancer is, what are its causes, risk factors and treatment options and why you should still see your oncologist in Singapore for lung cancer screening even if you never smoked all your life.

Lung Cancer Explained

As your oncologist would explain, lung cancer is a cancer that forms in the lungs and usually occurs among people who smoke. Just like other cancers, abnormal cells disrupt the processes of normal cells, which grow rapidly to form a mass or tumour. Lung cancer can begin in one or both lungs and it usually occurs in the cells that line the air passage.

Lung Cancer Risk Factors

Aside from cigarette smoking which is the primary risk factor for lung cancer, exposure to smoke or other smoke components also puts you at risk of developing the disease.

It is best to see your oncologist to learn more about the disease and whether or not you have risk factors.

In fact, here are three good reasons you should see your oncologist for a lung cancer screening even if you think it is unlikely you will develop lung cancer:

Reason #1: 25% of lung cancer cases worldwide are diagnosed in people who have never smoked.

Even healthy people who are non-smokers can get lung cancer. Ask your oncologist about ETS or Environmental Tobacco Smoke and how breathing it in can harm your lungs.

Reason #2: Lung cancer screening helps find lung cancer at a stage when it can still be cured.

Seeing your oncologist for lung-related concerns which can be signs you have lung cancer is important to increase your chance of getting diagnosed and treated early.

Examples of these lung-related concerns include coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, weakness, chest pain and weight loss.

Your oncologist will advise you that treatment for lung cancer is very challenging especially if the cancer cells have already spread from your lungs to other organs. Also, the lungs are sensitive organs which may not take treatments easily. Early detection especially when the cancer has not yet spread to other organs increases your chance of being treated successfully.

How will your oncologist diagnose you for lung cancer? He or she will perform the following procedures:

  • Chest X-ray or CT Scan. Your oncologist in Singapore will recommend a Chest X-Ray or CT Scan to detect abnormal growth in your lungs.
  • Biopsy. Your oncologist in Singapore will take some tissue from the tumour to determine whether it is malignant or benign.
  • Surgery. If the biopsy is inadequate in showing whether or not the tumour is malignant, then your oncologist would recommend surgically removing part or all of the tumour to determine whether it is malignant and what type of lung cancer it is.

Reason #3: Of individuals born today, one in 14 will be diagnosed with lung cancer during their lifetime.

For this reason, your oncologist will advise you about lowering your risk of developing lung cancer.

If you are smoking, quit. If you live or work with someone who smokes, change your environment to be able to avoid being with that person, or talk to the person about your concern. It’s your health and you owe it to yourself to live a healthy cancer-free life.

Lung Cancer Treatment Options

If your oncologist confirms you have early stage local cancer, which means the cancer cells have not spread to other organs of the body, then he or she would recommend surgery to remove the cancer mass.

Your oncologist in Singapore has to be a specialist thoracic surgeon to be able to perform surgery for lung cancer treatment.

There are three types of lung cancer surgery:

  • Limited resection – removes only a small portion of the lungs.
  • Lobectomy – removes a large section of the lungs, the most common form of lung cancer surgery.
  • Pneumonectomy – removes an entire lung.

Before surgery, your oncologist will check if your lungs are still functioning properly. He or she will explain that surgery may not be the best option if your lungs are functioning poorly. Together with a team consisting of pulmonologists and radiation oncologists, your oncologist will recommend which treatment path is best for your health condition.

Including a chest X-ray into your annual health checks is one of the best ways you can determine any abnormal growth in your lungs. Talk to our caring oncologist at The Harley Street Heart and Cancer Centre for ways you can protect yourself against lung cancer today.