Lung Cancer Rates Rising Across Asia

Doctor looking at x-ray

Of the 1.8 million killed by lung cancer worldwide in 2018, 61.4% passed in the Asia Pacific region according to a recent report. 59.% of the world’s new lung cancer cases are found in the same region. Across ASEAN member states, lung cancer recorded a total of 113,105 new cases of lung cancer this past year. 80% of lung cancer cases involve smokers in Asia. But environmental factors such as air pollution not to mention second-hand smoke play a part in this crisis.

The statistics are grim. A combination of smoking, air pollution and other social determinants of health make for a lung cancer crisis across much of Asia reports the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as reported in the Asean Post.

In Malaysia Dr. Anand Sachithanandan, consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Subang Jaya Medical Centre in the state of Selangor, reports that the five year survival rate for lung cancer in the 4th most populated nation is a grim 11%; he notes that lung cancer represents the deadliest of all cancers with a survival rate of 6.8 months. He notes that lung cancer is “asymptomatic, resulting in at least 80% of late state detection.” Early stage screening is of paramount importance in the region.


A new era of biomedical discovery transforms the way a great number of cancers are diagnosed and treated. Advanced clinical trials reveal that checkpoint blockade and adoptive immunotherapy could transcend the current standard of care in many cases in the region.

The Asean Post reports that Merck leads the charge on the immunotherapy R&D front with over 1,000 trials for its leading drug pembrolizumab. Dr. Kong Hwai Loong, a medical oncologist at Icon SOC Singapore at Paragon Medical Centre reports “Immunotherapy, especially pembrolizumab, has significantly and positively changed the lung cancer treatment landscape.”

Singapore’s Health Sciences Authority approved pembrolizumab in combination with chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for patients. Bristol-Myers Squibb’s OPDIVO and Roche’s Tencentiq are also approved and available in Singapore for lung cancer.

Emerging ASEAN Crisis

ASEAN regional nations will spend $740 billion by 2025 and this rise will have incredibly damaging impacts on the economy and healthcare standards. The rest of this article discusses pricing for treatments in Asia and other relevant elements. Follow the link below to the source for a full read.