Breast Cancer Screening Singapore: Who is Eligible for Breast Cancer Screening?

Health

Early-stage cancer treatments boost your chances of survival, and this is where breast cancer screening also fits in perfectly. A routine breast cancer screening can significantly reduce your risks of dying from this disease.

During the screening, your clinician will use a mammogram, an x-ray examination of your breast to detect and diagnose breast cancer. A mammogram may be recommended at the Health Advisory Clinic if you experience breast problems like pain, lumps, or nipple discharge.

It may also be necessary for a routine breast cancer screening even if you haven’t reported any breast complaints. Mammography is majorly preferred in breast cancer screening because of its ability to detect early signs of breast cancer like cysts, and tumors, etc. before you can detect them by touch.

Note that a mammogram cannot point out that you have breast cancer. Instead, it can hint that you could have the disease. If the suspicion is significant, your physician will recommend removing the affected tissue for a biopsy.

Your surgeon may perform an open surgical biopsy or use a needle for removing the tissue and then examine it under a microscope for cancer. A biopsy, in this case, is a detailed medical exam that can help examine the suspected tissue for breast cancer.

There are two types of mammograms that may be used for detecting breast cancer; the diagnostic mammogram or screening mammogram.

  • Diagnostic mammogram: Diagnostic mammogram is used for diagnosing any unusual changes in the breast such as a change in shape or size, development of a lump, thickening of the nipple, discharge, or pain. It can also help examine any abnormalities detected from a screening mammogram. It can be used in reviewing the abnormal changes in the breast for women of any age.
  • The Screening Mammogram: This is also an x-ray of the breast. It is recommendable for looking up breast changes in women who don’t display any signs or symptoms of breast cancer. A screening mammogram can help detect abnormal changes like tumors that can still not be felt by touch.

Who should be screened for Breast Cancer?

There are several risk factors you should consider to check your eligibility for breast cancer screening. Depending on your risk factor for this disease, you can be listed as a low-risk person, moderate risk, or high-risk person.

Here’s a breakdown of how these risks differ.

You can be considered to have a low risk of breast cancer if;

  • You are in good health and
  • There is no family history of breast cancer in your lineage

You may be considered as having moderate risk to breast cancer if;

  • There is be a family history of breast cancer in your lineage, most commonly if the people that were diagnosed with the disease were diagnosed in their 50s and
  • If you have dense breasts

You may be classified as having a high risk of breast cancer if;

  • Your breast biopsy shows lobular carcinoma in situ, atypical cells, or atypical lobular hyperplasia
  • There is a family history of breast cancer in your lineage, most importantly if two or more close relatives of yours from one side of your family have been diagnosed with breast and/or ovarian cancer before reaching 50 years of age
  • You have any of these inherited genetic mutations; PALB2, BRCA1, BRCA2, PTEN, CDH1 or Tp53

Recommendations for Breast Cancer Screening Depending on your Risk Factors

According to the USPSTF, if you have a moderate risk of breast cancer, it is recommendable that you get breast cancer screening in Singapore every other year. If you are between 40 and 49, you can always decide to have your annual breast cancer exams every other year when you wish to have them.

However, from age 50 to 74, it would be better to get breast cancer screening each year. If you have a higher risk of breast cancer, for instance, having a first-degree relative diagnosed with the disease, it is prudent that you start your annual mammograms in your 40s. NIH defines a first-degree relatives as your parents, brothers, sisters or children.

According to the ACS, you can start your annual mammograms from age 45 to 54. At 55, you can choose to have your mammograms every other year. However, if you’re considered highly at risk for breast cancer, you will need an annual mammogram and MRI.

Finally, according to ACOG, you can benefit from yearly mammograms if you’re an average breast cancer risk person from age 40 to 75. If you’re a high-risk person, you can benefit from bimanual clinical breast exams, annual breast MRIs, yearly mammograms, and most importantly, regular breast self-exams.

In Summation

To some extent, the recommendations for breast cancer screening differ. If you find them confusing, you can benefit from adequately knowing your breast’s natural contours and texture.

If you notice any abnormal change, be sure to let your health expert know of the change. Depending on your risk factors, they may recommend breast cancer screening to clear any doubts.

If you’re yet to begin breast cancer screenings and would wish to learn more about it and probably how to do the self-breast exams, give us a call today to schedule your appointment.

 

The Health Advisory Clinic
One Raffles Place, #04-49
1 Raffles Place, Singapore 048616
(+65) 6226 6442