Each year, up to 1,800 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Of this number, over 400 women will succumb to the ravages of the disease, according to the Singapore Cancer Society. All is not lost, however, as new cancer treatments are paving the way for the future.
“Certain subtypes of breast cancer, which were considered to have a high mortality risk 15 years ago, are nowadays being conquered with a combination of early diagnosis and advanced treatment,” says Dr Tan Yah Yuen, Breast Care Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, “and many women with these aggressive cancer are now being cured!”
1 in 11 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime but the chances of survival increases with early detection. “Women between the ages of 40 and 49 should have a breast exam every year,” says Dr Tan, “while women who are 50 and older should have one every two years unless there are risk factors such as family history or mammographic calcifications.”
She adds that breast self-examinations at home should be done once a month, after the menstrual cycle is complete, and that women should look out for any dimpling or puckering of the skin, redness, swelling and rashes or discharge emanating from the nipple.
Unsure of how to perform a breast check at home? Here’s a simple infographic to help guide you:
It is difficult to identify why some women get breast cancer and others don’t but there are some things you could try to limit risk:
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