The Impact of Cancer on Singapore

Cancer is currently the leading cause of death in Singapore, accounting for 29.7% of
deaths in 2015 (most recent statitsics). According to the National Cancer Centre Singapore, one in every 4 to 5 people in Singapore may develop cancer in their lifetime, and the number of people living with cancer will continue to increase. The most common cancer for men is colo-rectal and the most common for women is breast. From 2011 – 2015, colorectal, lung and prostate cancers were the three most common cancers diagnosed among Chinese and Indian males. Among Malay males, lung cancer, colorectal cancer and lymphoid neoplasms were the three most frequent cancer diagnoses. Breast and colorectal cancers were consistently ranked among the three leading female cancers regardless of ethnicity. Lung cancer was among the top three cancers for Chinese females, while uterine cancer was among the top three cancers for Malay and Indian females.

Lifestyle and behavioral factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking increases an individual’s risk of developing cancer. As such, it is important to encourage healthful behaviour in individuals to minimise the impact of these risk factors on health. Screening for common cancers such as breast, cervical and colorectal cancers is encouraged, especially for individuals with a family history of the cancer in question.

A total number of 64,341 incident cases of cancer were diagnosed among the resident population during the period 2011 – 2015. Of these, 31,284 (48.6%) occurred in males and the other 33,057 (51.4%) in females. The crude incidence rates for the total number of male and female cancer patients for the period 2011 – 2015 were 330.7 and 338.5 per 100,000 person-years respectively.

Through proper education cancer can be prevented, life expectancy can be increased, and quality of life both during and after treatment can be improved exponentially. The Cancer Exercise Training Institute (CETI), a United States-based organization, has trained over 10,000 health and fitness professionals to become Cancer Exercise Specialists since 2004. The language barrier has been an obstacle until now. CETI and it’s regional affiliates are bringing the Cancer Exercise Specialist Advanced Qualification training to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Malaysia in November 2019. This live training will be conducted by Andrea Leonard, 35-year cancer survivor, PFP 2019 Personal Trainer of the Year, and President/Founder of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. 

Through the comprehensive training health and fitness professionals seeking to attain a higher level of mastery and work with cancer patients during and after cancer surgery and treatment and into survivorship. Participants will expand their skills as a CES and gain a complete understanding of the entire cancer process from diagnosis and treatment to reconstruction and survivorship. The unique and individualized programming will help to improve the patient’s ability to cope with the mental and physical stress following cancer diagnosis and treatment. The comprehensive programming covers 26 types of cancer, as well as pediatrics, with special emphasis on breast cancer and breast reconstruction. 

“The Cancer Exercise Specialist is to CANCER what Cardiac Rehab. is to the HEART PATIENT.” – Andrea Leonard

After the two-day workshop, students will continue their studies through written manuals, video, and power point presentations followed by a 125-question final examination. Regular continuing education is required to maintain the high-standard of expertise required to work with this population.

The benefits of exercise during treatment include:

  1. Increased energy
  2. Improved treatment tolerance
  3. Decrease in pain
  4. Decrease in depression
  5. Better sleep
  6. Improved self-esteem/self-confidence
  7. Prevent weight gain and obesity
  8. Prevent.manage lymphedema
  9. Prevent cancer cachexia 
  10. Maintain independence
  11. Improved balance and strength
  12. Makes treatment more effective at destroying cancer cells

The benefits of exercise during recovery include:

  1. Increased range of motion
  2. Correct muscle imbalances that lead to pain and degeneration
  3. Increased energy
  4. Increased stamina
  5. Increases in strength and cardiovascular endurance
  6. Prevent osteoporosis, diabetes, lymphedema, future cancer, and damage to the heart and lungs 
  7. Decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass
  8. Improve balance and fall prevention
  9. Improved self-esteem/self-confidence

Based on the tremendous amount of evidence to support the aforementioned lists, it is mind-boggling that so few cancer patients are told to exercise. For those who are given the green light to exercise, the big problem is not knowing where to start, how to safely progress, and how to prevent many of the complications associated with cancer treatment.

By training more allied health professionals worldwide, CETI is creating a global resource for medical professionals to be able to confidently refer their patients. 

“Cancer strips you of everything. Your hair, your body parts, your dignity, your self-confidence, your strength and stamina, your finances, sometimes even your job or spouse. A Cancer Exercise Specialist can help the cancer patient regain control of their life and their body at a time that the patient feels they have no control.” – Andrea Leonard

If you are interested in learning more about our upcoming workshops in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore, or would like to learn about bringing CETI’s training to your country, please contact