Breast Cancer Screening Singapore: What Does it Include?

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With over 2 million new cases recorded each year globally, breast cancer remains a significant health concern. But there is some hope nonetheless. With early detection you can be assured of better treatment outcomes.

For a detailed guide on breast cancer screening in Singapore, please follow this link: https://healthclinicgroup.com/breast-cancer-screening/.

What is Breast Cancer?

A cancerous growth that appears in the breast tissue is called breast cancer. If undetected or left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body.

As it spreads, it can significantly impact your quality of life. In extreme cases, it can become life-threatening. That explains best why early detection is stressed upon.

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In particular, it is vital since it boosts the chances of successful treatment. It also helps reduce the need for aggressive interventions.

What are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer?

There are several are factors that may increase your risks of getting breast cancer. But, here’s what your women’s health specialist would want you to understand about these factors;

Even though they can influence your risks of getting the disease, having one or more risk factors doesn’t for sure imply that you will develop breast cancer. In fact many people who have breast cancer do not even have identifiable risk factors.

Besides, many women with several risk factors don’t get breast cancer. So, your best bet against breast cancer is regular screenings.

Also, consultations with a skilled women’s health specialist can help with early detection and appropriate breast cancer management. Here are some of the most notable risk factors for breast cancer:

  • Age: The likelihood of breast cancer in women rises with age. It is estimated that 80% of breast cancers in women are diagnosed at age 45 plus. And what’s more, this risk increases dramatically after menopause.
  • Family History: Having a close blood relative (for example a mother, sister, or daughter) who has had breast cancer increases your risk. The risk is higher if the affected relative developed breast cancer at an early age. Or if multiple relatives on the same side of the family have been diagnosed.
  • Genetic Mutations (e.g., BRCA1 and BRCA2): Mutations in certain genes, such as BRCA1 and BRCA2, significantly increase the risk of developing breast cancer. Though rare, these gene mutations can be inherited from either parent. If you’re a woman with these mutations you have a much higher lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Hormonal Factors: Certain hormonal factors can impact your risks of breast cancer. For example, prolonged exposure to estrogen and progesterone can increase your risks of breast cancer. This is most likely to happen if you started menstruation at an early age or began experiencing menopause at a later age. Also, using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for an extended period or combined estrogen-progestin birth control pills can slightly increase the risk.
  • Lifestyle Choices: Certain lifestyle choices can contribute to your breast cancer risk. Major culprits in this case include;
    1. Excessive alcohol consumption
    2. Using tobacco
    3. Being overweight or obese, and
    4. A sedentary lifestyle

On the contrary, regular physical activity can help reduce your risks. Also, maintaining a healthy weight and a balanced diet may make you less likely to get breast cancer. A diet that is balanced should be high in;

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables, and
  • Whole grains

What are the Components of Breast Cancer Screening?

To assess your risks of breast cancer, your doctor will use personalized risk assessment tools. For example, they may evaluate your family history and consider genetic testing if necessary. Here’s a summary of what your breast cancer screening in Singapore may include;

  • Clinical Breast Examination (CBE): This is a physical examination of the breasts conducted by qualified practitioner. During a CBE, the provider will inspect and palpates your breasts and lymph nodes. As they do this, they will be looking for any abnormalities or changes. CBE should be combined with other screening methods for comprehensive evaluation.
  • Breast Self-Examination (BSE): Breast self-examination (BSE) empowers patients to be proactive in their breast health. It involves regularly examining your own breasts to detect any changes or abnormalities. Performing BSE is simple. And the best part is that you can be done at home. The only thing to note is that you will need to follow a systematic approach of visually inspecting and palpating your breasts. BSE is not a standalone screening method. It can be used to complement clinical and imaging-based screenings.
  • Mammography: Mammography is considered the gold standard for breast cancer screening in Singapore. It is a low-dose X-ray imaging technique that can detect breast abnormalities, including small tumors that may not be palpable. Mammograms can identify cancerous or precancerous lesions at an early stage. This is why they are considered to significantly improve treatment outcomes.
  • Digital Breast Tomosynthesis (DBT): This procedure is also known as 3D mammography. It is an advanced form of mammography that provides a three-dimensional image of the breast. It works by capturing multiple X-ray images from different angles. This way, it enables radiologists to examine the breast tissue layer by layer. This technology enhances the detection of small tumors and reduces the incidence of false-positive results.
  • Breast Ultrasound: Breast ultrasound is often used as a complementary imaging tool alongside mammography. It utilizes sound waves to create detailed images of the breast tissue. Ultrasound is particularly useful in distinguishing between benign and malignant breast abnormalities. It is also helpful in guiding needle biopsies. It may be recommended for you for further evaluation. This is most likely to happen if an abnormality is detected on a mammogram or during your clinical examination.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This is a supplemental screening method for high risk individuals. Breast MRI uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to create highly detailed images of the breast. It is especially effective in detecting breast abnormalities in dense breast tissue. It is often recommended for patients with BRCA mutations or strong family histories of breast cancer.

Closing Thoughts

Breast cancer screening is vital to early detection and improved treatment outcomes. You can take proactive steps toward your breast health by understanding the various screening methods available.

Remember, early detection is key. So, consult your women’s health specialist to determine the best screening plan based on your risk factors. If you’re in Singapore, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.