For the first time, general practitioners (GPs) in Singapore are being mobilised in the battle against breast cancer.
This is a part of Singapore’s Healthier SG preventive health initiative. With Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) beginning this October, the national campaign urges GPs to highlight the importance of early screening.
Keeping Her In The Picture
This year’s BCAM rings in with the theme It’s a reminder to remember the vital women in our lives, to encourage and remind them of regular breast cancer screenings. The healthcare partners prompt women to proactively participate in screenings and conduct monthly self-examinations.
To represent this year’s theme, a sizable heart-shaped pink frame was showcased at the National University Health System Tower Block during the press conference. It is now at Level 3 of NUH Medical Centre. It’s an endeavour by the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS). The institute chairs this year’s campaign, working with esteemed partners like the Breast Cancer Foundation, SingHealth Duke-NUS Breast Centre, Singapore Cancer Society and Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
Breast cancer isn’t new to Singaporean women. Making up three in every ten cancer cases from 2017-2021, it remains a formidable foe. More prevalent in women over 50, the risk amplifies with age. The silver lining? The National Population Health Survey 2022 revealed increased mammography rates among women aged 50-69. The numbers indicate a shift towards the pre-COVID-19 rate of 38.7% in 2019.
Mr Simon Lim, Group Director of Outreach, Health Promotion Board emphasised the importance of regular checks. He stated “The best way to protect oneself from breast cancer is to go for regular mammograms. Women who are 50 years old and above are recommended to go for a mammogram once every two years. Women who are 40 to 49 years old should screen annually for breast cancer, provided they have consulted their doctor and discussed the benefits and limitations of mammography with them. Early detection and timely treatment of breast cancer can improve health outcomes.”
However, between 2017 to 2021, the age-standardised incidence rate for breast cancer was alarming at 74.6 per 100,000 women. It was, unfortunately, the predominant cause of cancer deaths, constituting 17.2% of female cancer fatalities.
While these statistics offer a glimmer of hope regarding screening frequency, they also underline the urgency. It’s more vital than ever for medical professionals and the community to work in unison. Therefore, as BCAM 2023 surges ahead, the message is clear: it’s time for people to unite, put our women in the limelight, and prioritise regular mammogram screening. This October, let’s ensure we’re “Keeping Her In The Picture.”
Photo Credit: National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS).