Cancer in Singapore

Cancer. The mere mention of it strikes fear in many people. Yet most of us would never imagine ourselves being inflicted by this horrible illness in our lifetime. Recently, an ex-colleague of mine died from stomach cancer. His death caused a stir in the office because he was young (in the mid-thirties) and had everything going well for him. What is it like for a wealth builder to be struck by cancer in Singapore?

According to data released by Health Promotion Board (HPB), cancer is currently the leading cause of death in Singapore, accounting for 29.7% of deaths in 2015. In the investment community, ex-SGX CEO, Magnus Bocker died from cancer last month. Prior to that, founder of, Dr Michael Leong lost his battle against colon cancer.

It seems like cancer is on the rise in Singapore. According to the HPB report, it was estimated that the lifetime risk for developing cancer in Singapore population is approximately 1 for every 4-5 people. This is not surprising as Singapore has an ageing population, so the number of people diagnosed with cancer is expected to rise.

Cancer in Singapore

In terms of statistic for cancer in Singapore, the number 1 cancer for males is colorectal (colon and rectal) while the number 1 cancer for females is breast.

Lifestyle habits and behavioural factors lead to the increasing trend of cancer in Singapore. As our country become wealthier over the decades, many of us become obese and live a sedentary lifestyle. In the pursuit of wealth, we tend to forget that “health is wealth”. Although it may sound cliché, if you think deeply, nothing in this world is more important than staying alive. You lose money in the stock market, you still get a chance to fight another day. But if you lose your health, it could be the end of the game for you.

The death of Dr Michael Leong jolted me and made me realize that life is not merely about making money. This blog was partly inspired by Dr Michael’s and his abrupt death in 2016 had a profound impact on me.

In one of his articles, he wrote that “money does not make a life”. At one point, money is important to all of us. But beyond certain stage, when we have built our wealth, it is important to be contented with life and start asking yourself what is truly important to you beyond monetary yearning. Dr Michael’s points were like wake-up calls and drove me to make changes in my life.

From the late Dr Michael Leong, I learned the importance of managing my health proactively. When I was younger, I used to feel [This is a premium article. The rest of the content is blocked and can be accessible by SG Wealth Builder Members only. To read the full content, please sign up as member.]

Read my other related articles:

  1. Dealing with cancer
  2. Understanding the difference between terminal illness and critical illness for insurance

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4 thoughts on “Cancer in Singapore

  • September 8, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    As a colon cancer survivor, can empathise with your article. By God’s grace, every day is a bonus for me.

  • September 9, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Death or disability can come because of cancer,a variety of other illnesses or an accident.Most will assume to live to a ripe old age but a look at the obituary page will disprove that.
    An awareness of the end will put things in perspective n help us live life purposefully.
    Good habits like exercise,avoidance of smoking n appreciation of life in general may come more easily thereafter.
    Study hard in spring,work hard in summer,enjoy n stretch out autumn,reduce winter’s bitter months.

  • September 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Jeffery,

    Thank you for your sharing. I always respect cancer survivors because of their will for living. Hopefully you can share your story so that readers can draw inspiration.


  • September 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Hi James,

    Agree that we should have the end in mind so that we can live a purposeful life. Life is short and we don’t want to look back in regrets. Words of wisdom indeed. I will keep that in mind. Thank you.


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