SINGAPORE - A new screening test at the National University Hospital (NUH) will give Stage 4 lung cancer patients access to faster, more targeted treatment.
Nearly half of all lung cancers in Singapore are caused by a genetic mutation most often found in female non-smokers.
This mutation causes cells to grow uncontrollably, and to be resistant to conventional cancer treatments like chemotherapy.
Typically, patients with this mutation are filtered using a screening test that takes three to five days.
But the new method allows doctors to get results within a day, so that patients can start treatment earlier.
They are given a drug which stops the mutated protein from sending a signal to the cell to continue to grow and divide.
"The faster it is, the less anxious patients are," said Dr Brendan Pang, a consultant in NUH's pathology department.
Survival rate is quite low for this particular form of lung cancer with just 15 per cent of patients alive after 5 years.
Lung cancer was one of the top three most common cancers in both men and women between 2008 and 2012. During this period of time, 6,407 lung cases cases were diagnosed.