• Vol. 50 No. 4, 297–305
  • 15 April 2021

Incidence and trends of ophthalmic cancer in Singapore: Data from Singapore Cancer Registry



Introduction: Limited data are available on the incidence of primary ophthalmic cancers worldwide. We describe the incidence and trends of primary ophthalmic cancers in Singapore. Methods: Data on ophthalmic cancers diagnosed in Singapore from 1996 to 2016 were retrieved from the Singapore Cancer Registry for analysis. All were histologically proven primary ophthalmic cancers. Calculations of incidence and age-specific frequency of ophthalmic malignancy were made. Results: A total of 297 cases were included, with males constituting 59.9%. The race distribution was 78.5% Chinese, 16.5% Malay, 3.7% Indians and 1.3% others. There was an overall increase in ophthalmic malignancies. The mean age of onset was 47.4 years. The most common cancers were retinoblastoma (93.3%) in patients younger than 15 years, and lymphoma (71.3%) in patients aged 15 years and older. There has been an increase in lymphomas from 16.7% in 1968–1995 to 71.3% in 1996–2016 in those aged 15 years and older. The most common types of ophthalmic cancer according to location are lymphoma of the orbit, conjunctiva, cornea and lacrimal gland; retinoblastoma of the retina; and malignant melanoma of the choroid and ciliary body. Conclusion: Our study reported the incidence and trends of ophthalmic cancer in the Singapore population and showed an overall increase in ophthalmic malignancies in Singapore from 1996–2016. A substantial increase in lymphomas over the last 2 decades was noted. The data could aid clinicians, epidemiologists and policymakers in implementing strategies to address trends in ophthalmic cancers and spur aetiological research to improve quality of life in patients with such cancers.

Ophthalmic cancers are commonly encountered in clinical practice and are an important cause of morbidity and mortality. Globally, the incidence of ophthalmic cancers have been increasing in the past 2 to 3 decades.3-6 Data on recent incidence of primary ophthalmic cancers, comprising intraocular and extraocular cancers, have not been well reported in Singapore. Apart from a single epidemiological report on intraocular, conjunctival and orbital cancers in Singapore from 1968 to 1995, there has been no detailed or recent epidemiological description of ophthalmic cancers in Singapore since.

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