One in every four cancer diagnosis among Singaporean women is for breast cancer, while about 1% of people diagnosed with breast cancer are men. And yet, many remain unaware of the severity of this issue.
Well, the month of October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). You’ve seen the pink ribbons, and maybe even participated in Pink Ribbon Walks yourself. But how much do you really know about breast cancer?
While there are certain factors that might increase your risk of getting breast cancer–having a history of breast cancer in your family, having your first kid after 30 or not having kids, menopause late, etc.–you’re not immune despite being in the pink of health. Studies have shown that 80% of women with breast cancer did not have any known factors.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
You can take preventive measures by exercising more, eating right or drinking less alcohol…
Or you can learn about the symptoms of breast cancer and go for regular screenings. Early detection is the key to a better chance of recovery. If discovered at an early stage, there are a lot more treatment options available to you.
There are three types of screenings you can undergo: self-examination, clinical examination, and mammography.
The self-examination should be carried out by women above the age of 20 and should be done once a month. You can find out what to look out for by visiting the Breast Cancer Foundation page.
If you’re above 40, you should visit the doctor for a yearly clinical breast examination. This can be done at your GP, polyclinic or gynaecological clinic. On top of this, you are recommended to go for a yearly mammography screening if you’re 40 years old and above, and twice yearly if you’re 50 years old and above.
Mammography screening is currently the best way to detect early for breast cancer. It can identify lumps way before they’re big enough to feel.
How Much Does Breast Cancer Screening Cost in Singapore?
Mammography screenings at hospitals cost anything from S$50 to S$200 depending on the facilities. You’ll probably have to get a referral from your GP, which increases the price even more, considering you would have to pay the consultation fees.
Are There Government Schemes for Mammography Screenings?
Women above 50 can use their own or their immediate families’ Medisave400 accounts to cover up to S$400 in mammography screenings a year, which would cover both examinations that you’re recommended to do.
As part of the Screen for Life initiative by the Health Promotion Board, a mammography screening for those above 50 and haven’t had an examination in the past 24 months will cost only S$50 for Singapore citizens. You can choose to have it at one of the 16 polyclinics participating. For Singaporean PRs, the cost would be $75.
To get an appointment, you’ll have to book it through the BSS hotline, email them or visit their site.
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