Frequently Asked Questions

What causes cancer?

Cancer is ultimately the result of cells that grow uncontrollably and do not die. Normal cells in the body follow an orderly path of growth, division, and death. Cancer cells do not experience programmatic death and instead continue to grow and divide. This leads to a mass of abnormal cells that grows out of control.

How can cancer be prevented?

Cancer that is closely linked to certain behaviours is the easiest to prevent. For example, choosing not to smoke tobacco or drink alcohol significantly lower the risk of several types of cancer – most notably lung, throat, mouth and liver cancer. Even if you are a current tobacco user, quitting can still greatly reduce your chances of getting cancer.

Eat more plant-based foods, e.g. fresh fruits and vegetables. Aim for at least 5 and preferably 7 servings a day.

Some cancer prevention is based on systemic screening in order to detect small irregularities or tumours as early as possible even if there are no clear symptoms present. Breast self–examination, mammograms, testicular self–examination, colonoscopy and Pap smear are common screening methods for various cancer.

Can cancer spread from one person to another person?

Cancer occurs by out-of-control cell growth; therefore, it can’t be spread to other people.

What are some of the common cases at Sunway Medical Centre?

At Sunway Medical Centre, the more common cancer cases are breast, colorectal and lung cancer.

With early detection programme such as mammography and colonoscopy, cancer can be prevented or treated at the early stage when cure is possible. For tumours which are not at an early stage, a combined approach of multidisciplinary management including surgeons; radiotherapist and medical oncologists will ensure a better outcome of treatment.

What are the treatments of cancer?

Cancer is not just one disease, but a large group consisting of many diseases. Treatments will generally vary according to the type of cancer; e.g. breast cancer and the stage (extent of the tumour). However, for most patients with the more cancers including gastro intestinal, breast and lung cancer, treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy and other systemic anti-cancer treatments.

Who is a Medical Oncologist?

A Medical Oncologist is a consultant physician who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers. Medical Oncologists are mainly involved in chemotherapy (use of anti cancer medication to destroy cancer cells), targeted biological treatments and in supportive cure.

My GP has referred me to an oncologist, what do I need to know?

Prior to seeing an oncologist, do read up about your condition and understand why your GP has advised to see an oncologist. Understanding the disease is just as important as treating it.

I want to do a screening, where do I go?

For screenings or procedures of any kind, a referral from a doctor is required. You can make an appointment with our specialists to first diagnose any issues or trouble you might be having. Once diagnosed, the specialist will advise you on the required/necessary screening for your condition.

Do I need a second opinion?

Cancer is often a confusing and frightening diagnosis. Many people refer to a few doctors or medical professionals before deciding. Asking for a second opinion is common practice. It may help you feel more comfortable with the health care decisions you make. A second opinion helps you understand the disease better and options available for treatment.