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Blood Cancer Cancer in Singapore

Blood Cancer In Singapore

Blood cancer in Singapore

What Is Blood Cancer?

Blood cancer in Singapore is a common type of cancer. However, public awareness of this type of cancer is generally low. Most people would associate the term “blood cancer” with “leukaemia”. However, there are in fact numerous types of blood cancers.

Blood cancers affect blood cell production and function. Blood is produced in the bone marrow, and this is usually where blood cancer starts. There are three types of blood cells – red, white, and platelets. Blood cancers typically occurs when there is an abnormal growth of blood cells. Cancerous blood cells disrupt the normal functioning of blood cells, for instance, in combating infections or stopping bleeds.

Blood cancers can be broadly classified as:

Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a cancer affecting the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is responsible for producing immune cells, and lymphomas will reduce our immunity and impair the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases.

Myeloma

This type of blood cancer affects plasma cells (a type of white blood cells which produce antibodies). When the normal production of antibodies is disrupted, the body’s immune system is weakened and the patient will be more vulnerable to infections.

Leukemia

This is a type of cancer found in the blood and in the bone marrow. It is caused by the rapid growth abnormal white blood cells. These abnormal white blood cells are unable to fight infection. They will also disrupt the production of red blood cells and platelets in the bone marrow.

Blood Cancer Singapore Statistics

Blood cancers in Singapore are among the 10 most common types of cancers affecting both men and women. In men, 2 types of blood cancers are ranked 5th (lymphoid neoplasms) and 9th (myeloid neoplasms). In women, lymphoid neoplasms is also the 5th most common cancer. This is based on the Singapore Cancer Registry 2020 report (for the period 2016-2020). In terms of mortality, lymphoid neoplasms are the 7th most common cause of cancer deaths in men, and the 8th most common cause in women.

Among the three main ethnic groups in Singapore, lymphoid neoplasms are more common among Malay men (11.6% of all cancers) and Indian men (10.3%). For Chinese men, they account for 6.3% of all cancers. In females, the trend is similar – Malay (7.8%), Indian (6%) and Chinese (4.7%).

Lymphoid neoplasms were the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men aged 39 and below. These cancers were also the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women aged 30 and below. Lymphoid neoplasms remain within the top 5 most commonly diagnosed cancer in both genders all the way up to age 79.

Myeloid neoplasms are within the top 5 cancers in men up to age 39, whereas in women, they are within the top 5 for those aged up to 29.

Blood Cancer Survival Rate In Singapore

The 5-year Age-Standardised Relative Survival Rate (ASRS) for lymphoid neoplasms is 60.3% in men and 60.7% in women. For myeloid neoplasms, the 5-year ASRS for men is 46.6%. Data is not available for the 5-year ASRS of myeloid neoplasms for women in the Singapore Cancer Registry 2020 report.

Note: The Singapore Cancer Registry 2020 report classifies the blood cancers in the following manner:

Lymphoid Neoplasms comprise: Precursor Lymphoid Neoplasms, B Mature Neoplasms, T/NK Mature Neoplasms, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Immunodeficiency-associated lymphoproliferative disorders, Histiocytic and Dendritic Cell Neoplasm, and Malignant Lymphoma NOS.

Myeloid Neoplasms and Acute Leukaemia comprise: Acute leukaemia of ambiguous lineage, Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and related Precursor Neoplasms, Myeloproliferative Neoplasms, and Myelodysplastic / Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

Blood Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of blood cancer include the following.

For lymphoma:

  • Swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck, underarm or groin (most common symptom).
  • Fever that persists.
  • Severe night sweats.
  • Weight loss that is unexplained.
  • Skin that is red, patchy, and itches.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Persistent fatigue.

For myeloma:

  • Pain in the bones (especially in the ribs and in the backbone).
  • Bone fracturing easily
  • Kidney damage.
  • Infections that are persistent or recurring.
  • Weight loss that is unexplained.
  • Increased thirst, constipation, and mental confusion.
  • Breathlessness.
  • Persistent fatigue.

For leukaemia:

  • Pain in the bones and joints.
  • Experiencing fevers and chills.
  • Skin that bruises or bleeds easily.
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes.
  • Weight and appetite loss.
  • Persistent fatigue.

There is currently no routine screening for blood cancer. You should seek medical attention if you are experiencing any of the symptoms above.

This article is informative only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.