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Breast Cancer Screening in Singapore: Your Guide to Early Detection

When it comes to breast cancer, early detection is your best defense. Singapore offers a range of breast cancer screening options, making it easy for women to proactively monitor their breast health and detect potential issues at their most treatable stages. In this guide, we’ll explore the available screening options, what they screen for, and where you can get them done.

Breast cancer screening in Singapore primarily consists of the following options:

Mammogram

Mammography is the gold standard of breast cancer screening. It involves taking X-ray images of the breast tissue to detect any abnormalities or growths. In Singapore, women aged 40 to 49 are encouraged to undergo mammograms annually while those above the age of 50 are recommended to undergo mammograms once every two years.

Mammograms aim to detect:

  • Breast tumours: Identifying tumors long before they become palpable.

  • Microcalcifications: Tiny calcium deposits that might be an early sign of cancer.

  • Cysts or fibroadenomas: Non-cancerous lumps that may need monitoring.

  • Dense breast tissue: This can make it harder to spot potential issues, but mammography helps detect them.

Dr Choo Bok Ai, a Radiation Oncologist, gives us some quick insights about mammography in the video below.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound scans are valuable for women with dense breast tissue or those needing further evaluation after a mammogram. The procedure provides a more detailed view without radiation. In Singapore, you can get ultrasound screening at various medical institutions. Ultrasound can help with:

  • Evaluating dense breast tissue.

  • Confirming whether a lump or irregularity is solid or fluid-filled.

  • Guiding biopsies if needed.

Clinical Breast Examination (CBE)

Clinical breast examinations are performed by healthcare professionals, such as general practitioners or gynecologists. Women in Singapore are encouraged to have a clinical breast examination every three years, starting at age 40. CBEs are essential for:

  • Evaluating breast health by detecting changes that may be subtle or not visible to the naked eye.
  • Complementing other screenings like mammography and ultrasound for a comprehensive assessment.

Breast Self-Examination:

While not a substitute for professional screenings, regular breast self-examinations are essential. They help you become familiar with your breast tissue and notice any changes promptly. Conduct self-exams to:

  • Look for visual changes like dimpling or changes in shape.
  • Feel for lumps, thickening, or unusual textures using the pads of your fingers.
  • Check your armpits for lymph nodes.

It is recommended to conduct a breast self-examination once every month. A comprehensive set of instructions on how to perform a breast self-examination can be found on the Singapore Cancer Society website here.

Where to Get Screened

In Singapore, you have multiple options for breast cancer screenings:

  • Public Hospitals: Government-run hospitals offer subsidized mammography and clinical breast examinations.

  • Private Clinics: Numerous private medical facilities provide a range of screening services, including mammography, ultrasound, and clinical breast examinations.

  • Breast Cancer Foundation: The Breast Cancer Foundation provides mammography services at no cost to eligible Singaporean women.

Ensuring you get regular breast cancer screenings is vital for early detection, significantly improving the chances of successful treatment. If you have concerns or questions about breast cancer screening, consult your healthcare provider for guidance tailored to your individual needs and risk factors.

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By taking advantage of these screening options and staying proactive about your breast health, you’re better equipped to safeguard your well-being and detect any potential issues at an early, treatable stage.

If you or someone you know is thinking of going for a mammogram– – we can help!

We’re connected with a team of medical and mental health professionals who can provide specialized support and guidance. View our panel of doctors here. Don’t hesitate to WhatsApp Us at 80883008!

Additionally, we offer an insightful online course that delves deep into the subject of breast cancer. This comprehensive course covers a wide range of topics, including symptoms, causes, risk factors, surgical interventions, and various treatment options. Whether you’re interested in gaining a better understanding of your own health or simply want to explore this important topic, our course is designed to equip you with the knowledge you need.

You can access the course here.

Join us on this educational journey as we uncover the intricacies of breast cancer and empower you with the information to make informed decisions about your health. Your well-being matters to us, and we’re here to support you every step of the way!

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