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Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer among women in Singapore. Each year, over 1,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer, and over 400 die from the disease.* 1 in 11 women will get breast cancer in their lifetime.** Nevertheless, the chances of surviving breast cancer increases with early detection.

The mammogram is currently the most reliable screening tool for breast cancer. It can detect the presence of cancerous lumps even before they can be felt with the hand.

 

 

 

 

To encourage women in Singapore to start screening and stay up to date with their screening, Singapore Cancer Society runs a number of mammogram screening programmes.

For women who possess a CHAS cards, and are aged 50 to 69 years old, SCS provides mammograms at no charge, to Singaporean women at the SCS Clinic @ Bishan.

For more information, click here For women who turn 50 this year, SCS provides mammograms at no charge to Singaporean women under the SCS FIT 50 Programme.

For women aged 40 to 69 years old and do not meet the criterias to screen at the SCS Clinic @ Bishan or under the SCS FIT 50 programme, they may consider screening under the Community Mammobus Programme or with the SCS $25 Funding Assistance.

About Mammogram

Are mammograms painful?

A certain amount of compression of the breast is required to obtain a clear image on the mammogram. This may be uncomfortable and painful. Should you experience pain, please inform the radiographer immediately.

Are mammograms harmful?

A common perception is that mammograms are harmful to the body and may increase existing risk of cancer as they expose women to radiation during the screening process. However, in actuality, radiation exposure during mammograms is very low. Correspondingly, the health risk to women is also very low.

Is there any proof that mammograms work?

Yes. Studies show that regular breast screening in women aged 40 years and above can reduce the mortality rate from breast cancer by up to 50%. This translates into lives saved.

Are mammograms effective for all women?

Studies have shown that breast screening is most effective in women between the ages of 50 and 70. The effectiveness of breast screening for women in their seventies is not as apparent.

Where can I go for a mammogram?

Mammogram facilities are available in numerous breast screening centres island-wide. The Ministry of Health launched a nationwide campaign to screen women above the age of 50 for breast cancer. Under this campaign, the cost of mammograms is heavily subsidised. Mammograms are available as part of a general health check in most restructured hospitals and specialist outpatient clinics. Mammograms are also provided at the SCS Multi-Service Centre.

What happens if a woman’s mammogram is abnormal?

An abnormal result from a mammogram does not automatically mean that a woman has breast cancer. A large proportion of abnormalities are caused by other factors. Women whose mammogram results indicate abnormalities will be directed to take follow-up tests such as a repeat mammogram and/or an ultrasound scan. For women whose abnormal results remain suspicious, they will be directed to undergo a surgical biopsy to confirm or rule out a diagnosis of cancer.

What is a surgical biopsy?

This is a small surgical procedure to remove the abnormality in the breast for laboratory analysis. This procedure is usually performed under general anaesthesia as a day surgery.

What are the disadvantages of a mammogram?

Some women may experience pain resulting from the mammogram process. There is also a small health risk from radiation exposure.

At this time, no diagnostic test is 100 per cent accurate. It may be possible for healthy women to obtain a false abnormal result and for unhealthy women to obtain a false normal result. To mitigate this possibility, it is important for women to exercise vigilance by also performing monthly breast self-examinations.