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Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer - What it is

Lungs are part of the respiratory system that works together to help you breathe. The respiratory system’s main function is to move fresh air into your body while removing waste gases.

Lung cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the lungs and develops because of the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. Growth of these abnormal cells can interfere with normal lung function. The abnormal cells 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 and more.

There are two main types of lung cancer:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC): NSCLC accounts for approximately 85% of all lung cancers and arises from a type of cell that lines the surface of organs (epithelial cells). Types of NSCLC include adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma.
  • Small cell lung cancer (SCLC): SCLC accounts for 15% of all lung cancers and is strongly associated with cigarette smoking. It grows and spreads quickly to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes.

Over a five-year period, from 2014 to 2018, close to 8,000 cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in Singapore. Lung cancer is third most common cancer in men and women in Singapore. It is also the leading cause of cancer death for men and second cause of cancer death for women. Lung cancer is more commonly diagnosed in individuals above 40 years old, however the disease can occur in younger individuals.

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