Pink of Health
It is a very upsetting fact that 1 out of 14 women will develop breast cancer before the age of 75.
Many of the women thought that they will not get breast cancer so easily or they are safe from
breast cancer because their families do not have any cancer history. Usually many of the men
will feel that breast cancer will only happen in woman. They are wrong. Breast cancer can be
affected anyone of any age, gender, even those with healthy lifestyle or no genetic family history
of breast cancer. So it would best to go for early mammogram screening to have a check. It is
always good to be safe than sorry.
This month is pink ribbon month, so would like to bring awareness to everyone about breast
Early stage of breast cancer often has no symptoms so it is very hard to be detected. It is important
to go for regularly mammogram screening to check for breast cancer. Mammogram screening is
the most effective screening tool available to detect early breast cancer before any symptoms
arise. Usually 2 X-ray images of each breast are taken after the breast is compressed and yes,
it can be uncomfortable or slight painful for a few seconds. Good compression is vital as it
helps to spread out the breast tissue so that abnormalities can be clearly seen. Rest assure
that doing it annually does not wake up any breast cancer cell or expose yourself to breast
cancer. Mammogram screenings can be supplemented with an ultrasound or MRI scan.
Since anyone can get breast cancer, the best way to detect breast cancer is to know your own
breast baseline. If you feel that there are changes in your breast baseline, kindly proceed to
have a check. Changes such as breast pain, lump or nipple discharge could be the symptoms
of breast cancer. Even if you are pregnant and suspect of breast cancer, not to worry,
mammogram screening can be performed using an abdominal shield to protect the baby.
When a suspicious abnormality is detected, a biopsy is performed to obtain the tissue for
confirmation of diagnosis.
Good news to all, breast cancer is highly treatable and patients often live a long life with
adequate and appropriate treatment. There are many patients who are able to live 20 to 30
years after getting breast cancer. However, if left untreated, the breast cancer cell can grow,
spread and cause a person to suffer physically. There are cases where breast cancer has spread
to other organs, it is not uncommon for patients with breast cancer to live beyond 5 to 10 years
if they receive treatment to control the cancer.
Breast cancer treatment often involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy,
hormone therapy, and targeted therapy. However, the doctor will advise the patient which treatment
options will be best suit for the patient according to the type of tumour one has, the doctor will also
has to consider the patient’s overall health and preferences. Medical team had been researching for
new drugs and treatment for breast cancer. There is a new treatment modality called Cryoablation is
being studied in clinical trials. It involves freezing away the tumour while it is still in the breast
without the need for an operation. Patient is able to be discharge and cure with just a needle size hole.
We eagerly await the results of this study. There are also newer drugs that allow for treatment with
lesser side effects or complications.
Many young women are afraid to check for breast cancer for fear that if they got detected of breast
cancer, they will not be able to settle down for family anymore. This is not true. Patients are still be
able to conceive for child after they are treated or their disease is under control b y undergoing
Even pregnant lady is able to receive treatment while carrying their baby to full term.
Women who got their breast removed are able to reconstruct their breast back the same sitting as the
cancer surgery or after the completion of cancer treatment. Reconstruction of breast does not increase
the risk of breast cancer returning. Surgeons are able to use lipofilling which inject one’s own fat
removed by liposuction to reconstruct their breast back has been found to be safe.
Although hormone influences and genetics are 2 unmodifiable risk factors for breast cancer development,
there are ways to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer by adopting a healthy lifestyle. We can adopt
healthy lifestyle choices by exercising regularly, eating a well- balanced diet, limiting or avoiding alcohol
consumption altogether, and maintaining a healthy weight.
To promote the importance of breast cancer, from 1st Oct to 31st Jan 2019, Singapore Cancer Society has
help to reduce the cost of mammogram screening for women age 50 and above. Refer to the brochure
for more detail.
Remember, early detection save lives.
Credit to Dr Jendana Chanyaputhipong, Breast Surgeon, PanAsia Surgery Group