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What Is Nasopharyngeal Cancer?

The nasopharynx is the space situated behind our nose and below the brain. It connects our nose to our windpipe. On its sidewall, a tube connects it to the ear.

Nasopharyngeal cancer starts in the cells lining the nasopharynx. A cancerous lump is formed which then invades out of the nasopharynx into the brain, ear and the jaw.  These cells can also invade the lymph channels and blood stream and spread to lymph glands and other distant organs such as the bones and liver. 

Category: Types of Cancer


colorectal cancer logoWhat Is Colorectal Cancer?

Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon and rectum (or the large intestine), which is the last part of the gastrointestinal tract. When food enters the colon, water is absorbed and the food residue is converted into waste (faeces) by bacteria. The rectum is the terminal part of the colon that stores faeces before it is expelled through the anus. Polyps may form on the inner wall of the colon and rectum. These are benign lumps which are fairly common in people above the age of 50. However, certain types of polyps may develop into cancer and should be removed if they are detected. 

Certain characteristics of a polyp may indicate malignancy:

  • Polyps greater than 1 cm in diameter
  • Sessile polyps (i.e. polyps without a stalk)
  • Multiple polyps

In the early stages of colorectal cancer, the cancer cells are confined to the colon. If undetected, the cancer will develop and project into the lumen of the colon. It will also invade through the colon wall and spread by:

  • Invading neighbouring intestines and organs
  • Entering the lymphatic system and travelling into neighbouring lymph glands (mesenteric lymph nodes)
  • Entering the blood stream and travelling to the liver where secondary malignant deposits may form
Category: Types of Cancer


liver cancer logoWhat is Liver Cancer?

The liver is a large organ occupying the upper right portion of the abdomen. It is an important organ with many functions:

  • Production of bile for the digestion of fat in the intestines
  • Protein synthesis
  • Storage of glucose and fat
  • Breakdown of toxic sub stances such as alcohol

Liver cancer arises from hepatocytes (liver cells). Liver cancer often develops in livers that are severely damaged by longstanding diseases or chemicals. The liver becomes hardened and shrunken — a condition called liver cirrhosis.

 When the liver cancer is small (less than 5cm in diameter), it often does not present symptoms. When tumours have become bigger and more advanced, liver cancer can infiltrate the liver capsule or obstruct the bile ducts. At this stage, symptoms may start appearing.

Liver cancer can form many nodules within the liver and spread into the blood vessels. These features make it difficult to surgically remove them. The liver is also the seat of secondary or metastatic cancers. In such cases, the main cancer forms elsewhere in the body and secondary deposits are formed in the liver. A common example is colorectal cancer spreading to the liver via the bloodstream.

Liver cancer is the fourth most common cancer in males in Singapore. *


* Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry report, Trends in Cancer Incidence in Singapore 2010-2014

Category: Types of Cancer


stomach cancerWhat is Stomach Cancer (Gastric Cancer)?

The stomach like the rest of the body is made up of billions of little units called cells. The cells have a specific function and they divide in an orderly manner. However, when these cells lose control of their division, a mass of tissue called a tumour is formed. Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a disease in which malignant cancer cells form in the lining of the stomach.

Stomach Cancer is the 7th most common cancer in men and the 9th most common cancer in women in our local population. Every year stomach cancer takes more than 300 lives in Singapore*. If the cancer is detected early, it is potentially curable. However, more than two-thirds of stomach cancer patients are diagnosed at Stage III or IV.

* Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report 2015


Category: Types of Cancer


lung cancer logoWhat is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lungs. As the cancer cells grow, they can interfere with the normal functioning of the lungs. They can also spread from the original part of the lung to lymph glands around the airway, the opposite lung, bones, brain and liver, as well as to other parts of the body.

Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in males and females in Singapore respectively. During the five-year period from 2014 – 2018, 14% of all cancer incidences in men were lung cancer cases. For women, the figure is 7.5%. Meanwhile, being the leading cause of cancer deaths in Singapore in men at 26.4%, lung cancer also accounted for 15.7% of cancer mortalities in females.

There are two major types of lung cancer: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). SCLC makes up about 10 – 15% of all lung cancer cases. It is an aggressive cancer which grows quickly and spreads early to other parts of the body. This type of lung cancer is strongly associated with cigarette smoking. NSCLC is not as aggressive as SCLC but it is more common. It tends to grow and spread less quickly than SCLC. NSCLC includes squamous cell carcinoma, large cell carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma.


* Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report 2018.

Category: Types of Cancer