Lung cancer has been the leading cause of cancer deaths in Hong Kong since the HK Cancer Registry was established in 1983. Its high mortality rate is largely due to the fact that most patients do not have visible symptoms at an early stage of the disease. Lung cancer is the first and third most common cancer in men and women in Hong Kong respectively, among breast cancer and colorectal cancer.
Lung cancer is abnormal cell growth in one or both lungs and it usually starts in the lining of an airway, i.e. the trachea (windpipe that transports air into the lungs) and bronchi (air passages connecting trachea and smaller tubes in the lungs). Therefore, the functioning of the lungs could deteriorate. Lung cancer is more common in men, especially those above 40 years old.
There are two types: small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). They require different treatment. The most common type is non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), accounting for approximately 80% of all lung cancers. Small-cell lung cancers are closely related to smoking cigarettes. They usually spread very quickly.
Early lung cancer has no obvious symptoms, so most people fail to receive timely medical attention. As lung cancer grows, some common symptoms include:
Symptoms of more advanced lung cancer include:
The best protection is early detection and prevention. There are some ways to lower your risk, for example:
In case you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, the following are tests that may be recommended by your physician:
The two different types of lung cancers have different stages of development.
While most lung cancers are treatable, a significant proportion present at a late stage and thus are not curable. Treatment options include:
Cost of treatment in Hong Kong’s Public Sector:
For eligible persons with an HKID card, the cost is $75 admission fee and $120 per day, covering surgery fee, chemotherapy fee, and radiotherapy fee. Extra medications or other injections needed are not included.
For non-eligible persons without an HKID card, the cost for inpatient general hospital is $5,100 per day.
Beware of waiting times which can be very long in the public sector.
For details, call the Hospital Authority at 2300 6555.
Cost of treatment in Hong Kong’s Private Sector:
The cost of treatment in the private sector would be determined according to the condition of the patient. Different types and stages of the disease require different surgical procedures therefore it is best to consult a doctor and discuss the options that best suit your situation.
In Hong Kong, fees are also determined according to the choice of room (private, semi-private, ward), doctor fees, medication fees, and administration fees of each hospital or clinic, therefore it may vary significantly.
A consultation in the private sector ranges from $800 to $2000 and a cycle of chemotherapy in Hong Kong’s private sector can range from $12,000 to $25,000. The fee for radiation therapy can range from $30,000 to $150,000 but depends highly on the number of doses assigned by your doctor. These are estimates, for your information only.
* All amounts are in HKD. No responsibility is accepted for any inaccuracies, errors or omissions. It is always best to call ahead to make sure the information is still up-to-date.
According to Alea, lung cancer surgery is usually reimbursed under hospital/surgical benefits whereas chemotherapy/radiation therapies are usually reimbursed under cancer cover. Generally, high-end medical plans will reimburse cancer treatments in full without any sub-limit whereas local plans will have sub-limits. If you have health insurance questions, contact an expert at Alea at +852 2606 2668 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medical-related content only was reviewed by Dr. Patricia Poon. She graduated from the University of Adelaide, South Australia in 1995. She subsequently received her Oncology training at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong and became a fellow of the Royal College of Radiologists in 2002. Dr. Poon earned the Fellowship of Hong Kong College Radiologists and Fellowship of the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine (Radiology) in 2005. She also obtained a Master's degree in Palliative Medicine at Cardiff University, U.K. in 2010. Besides training at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong, she was a Consultant Oncologist at the Hong Kong Baptist Hospital until 2014. She is currently working as a private Clinical Oncologist in Hong Kong.
This article was independently written by Healthy Matters. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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