Breast cancer is the leading killer cancer among women in Singapore and it can strike anyone, anytime. According to a statement by the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), “1 in 14 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, 6 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every day, and 1 death occurs from breast cancer daily.”
Bleak as it sounds, breast cancer it is highly treatable if detected early, with over 90% success rate if diagnosed at its initial stage. Yet, many women continue to shun breast self-examinations (BSE) and mammogram screenings. A survey commissioned by BCF reveals that “only 62 percent of women reported having ever done a BSE”, despite being aware of the dangers the disease poses.
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In wake of the current Covid situation, the BCF is putting the spotlight on this other life-threatening crisis and calling for women to do regular checks with its Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2020 campaign, titled The Health Crisis That Was Always Here.
When was the last time you did a boob self-inspection? All it takes is a couple of minutes:
Besides BSE, mammogram screenings are key to early detection as breast cancer in its early stages may not show symptoms. They involve compression and low-dose X-ray captures of your breasts that are checked for abnormalities, which may evoke anxiety for various reasons such as fear of diagnosis, pain and discomfort. However, as BCF President Ms Staphnie Tang asserts: “By being proactive and vigilant with regular monthly BSE and mammograms, women can take charge of their own health.”
The BCF recommends all women aged 20 and above to do a monthly BSE. Those aged 40 – 49 should go for a clinical breast examination and a mammography screening once a year, while women above 50 should go for both every 2 years.
If you or someone you know is afflicted with breast cancer, BCF also offers support via initiatives such as the following:
BCF Befrienders Programme
BCF’s network of volunteers are committed to share their experiences with caregivers and women diagnosed with breast cancer, offering their assistance and support face-to-face or over phone calls. Reach out to these breast cancer survivors if you need a listening ear.
BCF Support Groups
The groups provide a safe, caring and conducive environment for those affected by the disease to share their experiences and useful coping strategies in the areas ranging from exercise and nutrition, to surgery and treatment journey.
More information here.
Breast Cancer Foundation Encouragement for Active Mammograms (BEAM)
Launched under the guidelines of BreastScreen Singapore (BSS) and in partnership with Health Promotion Board (HPB), National Healthcare Group Diagnostics (NHGD) and SingHealth, BEAM offers free mammograms to Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cardholders.
Find out more about BCF’s support programmes here.
Visit BCF’s website for more information.
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