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Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer - What it is

The lungs are located in the chest and enable us to breathe. When we breathe in, air goes through our nose, down our windpipe (trachea), and into the lungs, where it spreads through tubes called bronchi. Oxygen from the air that we breathe can then pass into the blood and to the rest of the body to allow the body to function normally. 

Lung cancer refers to the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells which come from the lungs, usually from the cells that line the bronchi. The abnormal cells do not carry out the function of normal lung cells. As these abnormal cells grow, they can get bigger and start to interfere with the normal functioning of the lung. They can pass from the original part of the lung to other parts of the body, such as the opposite lung, our lymph nodes, bones, liver etc.

The two main types of lung cancer are: 
  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) which is the most common type of lung cancer. 
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) makes up about 10-15% of all lung cancer cases.
Small cell lung cancer is more rapidly growing and spreads earlier to other organs as compared to non-small cell lung cancer. Non-small cell lung cancer generally grows slower than small cell lung cancer and tends to be confined to the lung for a longer period of time.

Once cancer is diagnosed, further scans of the bones, brain and rest of the body may be performed to determine if the cancer has spread to other organs. The results will be reviewed by the doctor to determine the final stage of the lung cancer.

How Common is Lung Cancer?

Lung cancer is the number 2 killer in males and 3rd in females in Singapore. Between 2011 and 2015, an average of 1424 people in Singapore diagnosed with lung cancer yearly. 

Age of Onset

Most people diagnosed with lung cancer are above 40 years old. However, the disease may begin before this age range. 

Lung Cancer - Preparing for surgery

Lung Cancer - Post-surgery care

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