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What Is Cancer?

It is a term that brings dread every time it is brought up, but do you know the actual science behind the term, cancer?

The term refers to a group of diseases, of which there are over 100 different types. While the effects can vary, all types are characterised by abnormal cell growth. If growth is not stopped, cancer can lead to death.

Cancer as a Medical Condition in Singapore

As a condition, the Singapore Cancer Society’s statistics reflect that about 39 people are diagnosed with a variant of the disease every day. The more worrying stat is that 15 people perish due to the condition daily. The chances of developing cancer currently stand at 1 in every 4 people.

Common Types of Cancer in Singapore

The most common types of cancers vary between men and women. For men, these are the top five that may develop:

  • Colon & rectum
  • Lung
  • Prostate
  • Liver & intrahepatic bile ducts
  • Lymphoid neoplasms

For women, the list is as follows:

  • Breast
  • Colorectal & rectum
  • Lung
  • Corpus uteri (uterus)
  • Ovary & fallopian tube

However, these are not the only types that can affect individuals, thus, it is important to do what you can before you fall victim to the condition. Early detection and treatment can make a world of difference when it comes to cancer.

What Causes Cancer?

Currently, our understanding of the disease is not yet complete, and there is no one root cause that has been determined to be the main culprit. The development of the condition is usually down to a variety of factors that are linked to one’s lifestyle, environment, as well as family history.

Here are some of the more important factors that can increase your risk:

  • Tobacco
  • Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Environmental pollutants
  • UV radiation
  • Infectious agents
  • Family history

Cancer Symptoms

As a more manageable way to remember the symptoms to look out for when it comes to the condition, you just need to remember the acronym – CAUTIOUS.

  • Change in usual bowel and urinary habits
  • A sore which does not heal
  • Unusual bleeding or discharge
  • Thickening or lump in the breast or elsewhere
  • Insistent pain in the body without reason
  • Obvious change in a mole or wart
  • Unusual prolonged cough or hoarseness
  • Swallowing difficulty or persistent indigestion

While having these symptoms may not represent the development of cancer, should they persist, it is recommended for you to seek medical help.

Prevention as the First Line of Defence

Treatment for cancer can be an arduous journey, and it is not something to be taken lightly. However, one of the most vital ways you can go about protecting yourself is to prevent the disease from taking hold in the first place. Making the following healthy lifestyle choices can help:

  • Stop smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat enough fruits and vegetables
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Manage stress
  • Understand your family’s medical history

Additionally, it is essential that you go for regular screenings once you reach a certain age. This is because early diagnosis and intervention can help you in the fight against cancer. Screenings are recommended for colorectal, cervical, breast and liver cancer.

To learn more about these screenings, when you should begin to go for them and how often you should go, please refer to the information provided by SingHealth.

Let Jaga-Me Give You a Hand

Cancer is a serious condition, and you are not alone if you find it overwhelming to take care of someone who is afflicted with it. Here at Jaga-Me, our team of expert caregivers will be able to give you a hand, and help you in taking care of your loved ones’ needs each and every day.

For more information on acquiring support for loved ones, read more here.

Find out more about Jaga-Me and our services here.

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