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About Cancer

Cancer is a broad group of diseases caused by uncontrollable cell growth ,forming malignant tumours  ( harmful masses of tissues) in any part of body.

Cancer tumours can grow, invade nearby parts of the body and also spread to more distant parts   through lymphatic or blood stream. When a tumour cells successfully stretch out to other parts of the body, they grow, invade and destroy other healthy tissues. This phenomenon is known as metastasis. This is important because cancer mortality   is mainly due to metastatic tumours. Only 10% of cancer deaths are caused by the primary tumour.

There are over 200 different known cancers that afflict humans.  Common top cancers in Singapore are colorectal cancer, breast cancer and liver cancer.

CAUSES OF CANCER

Both Environmental and genetic can cause malignant tumours, cancers.

Heredity (genetic) cancers are primarily caused by an inherited genetic defect.

Less than 0.3% of the population carriers of a genetic mutation and these can cause less than 3-10% of all cancer. Common inherited cancers are breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer. So health screenings related to those malignancies are highly advised to those whose any family members or relatives suffers  from these cancers.
Common environmental factors that contribute to cancer death include tobacco, alcohol, chemicals (such as asbestos, arsenic, car exhaust fumes), diet and obesity, infections, radiation ( such as x-rays,  the sun), stress, lack of physical activity and environmental pollutants. A class of these substances is called carcinogens.  When our bodies are exposed to carcinogens, free radicals are formed. Then these free radicals damage cells and affect their ability to function properly.


SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CANCER
Cancer symptoms are changes on the body caused by the presence of cancer. Most common general symptoms are weight loss, tiredness and loss of appetite. There are more than 200 different types of cancer with a wide range of different signs and symptoms, making it difficult to produce a definitive list.

  • Typical symptoms of cancer include
  • The presence of an unusual lump in the body
  • Changes in a mole on the skin
  • A persistent cough or hoarseness
  • A change in bowel habits, such as unusual diarrhoea or constipation
  • Difficulty in swallowing or continuing indigestion
  • Any abnormal bleeding, including bleeding from the vagina, or blood in urine or faeces
  • A persistent sore or ulcer
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Unexplained pain
  • Unexplained tiredness or fatigue
  • Skin changes such as an unexplained rash or unusual texture
  • Unexplained night sweats

It is advisable that anyone experiencing unusual body symptoms that are not normal should seek medical attention at Novena Cancer Centre


PREVENTION
Most cancers should be preventable, current dietary recommendations to prevent cancers include increasing the consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and avoidance of processed and red meat. Physical activity also can reduce the risk of cancer. Try not to frequent expose to carcinogens. Vaccines have been developed that prevent animal fats and refined carbon hydrates, some infection by some viruses. Human papillomavirus vaccine decreases the risk of developing cervical cancer. The hepatitis B vaccine prevents infection with hepatitis B virus and these decreases the risk of liver cancer.

You are warmly welcomed by Novena Cancer Centre if you are keen to get health education about cancers, discussion how to prevent and take vaccinations.

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Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital

Address:
38 Irrawaddy Road #09-41, Singapore 329563

Opening Hours:
Mon - Fri: 9am - 6pm
Sat: 9am - 1pm

Contact number: 6339 0233