Constantly watch new trends that can harm health, President Tan tells oncology congress

SINGAPORE - Asia is facing a growing cancer burden due to ageing populations as well as lifestyle factors such as tobacco use. Hence, effective healthcare policies, such as improved detection, are needed, said President Dr Tony Tan at the opening of the medical congress, ESMO Asia, on Friday (Dec 18).

Dr Tan pointed out that the Health Promotion Board's national screening programmes are free or subsided for low-income households.

He also suggested that new trends that are a threat to public health be monitored constantly. Singapore, for instance, recently imposed a ban on electronic cigarettes, he told the 2,772 international attendees .

He stressed that prevention is still the most cost effective long-term strategy for cancer, as one third of all cancers are preventable.

ESMO Asia, which brings together oncology professionals from 72 countries, aims to promote the international exchange of cancer expertise, leading to the best treatment for all patients worldwide.

It is the first time this meeting is being held in Singapore, and it will run until Monday (Dec 21).