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Br J Ophthalmol. 2000 Jul;84(7):767-70.

Eye cancer incidence in Singapore.

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Singapore Eye Research Institute, Occupational and Family Medicine, National University of Singapore.



To describe the epidemiological characteristics of patients with primary intraocular, conjunctival, and orbital cancers seen in Singapore from 1968 to 1995.


Epidemiological data of all cancers diagnosed in Singapore are collected by the Singapore Cancer Registry. The data of all cases of Singapore residents with eye cancers (ICD-9, site 190) were retrieved for analysis. This includes intraocular, conjunctival, and orbital cancers but excludes cancer of the eyelids.


There were 125 patients of which 67 (53.6%) were male and 58 (46.4%) were female. The average annual age standardised incidences for male and female Singapore residents were 1.89 and 1.81 per million respectively. The most common cancer was retinoblastoma (53.6%), followed by malignant melanoma (19.2%) and squamous cell carcinoma (11.2%). The most common cancer among patients younger than 15 years was retinoblastoma (95.7%) and that for those 15 years and older was malignant melanoma (42.6%). The most common subsite was the retina (53.6%), followed by conjunctiva (12.8%), orbit (8.8%), and lacrimal gland (6.4%).


The annual age standardised incidence have been stable for the 28 years studied. Retinoblastoma is much more common than melanoma in Singapore. These expanded epidemiological characteristics serve to provide ophthalmologists and epidemiologists with a foundation to monitor future disease patterns in Singapore and provide a basis for comparison with other selected populations elsewhere.

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