Debate intensifies over breast screening Singapore

2016 07 01 11 13 49 839 Singapore Flag 400

Women in Singapore are not supplied with sufficient information to confront breast cancer, according to a viewpoint expressed in the local media by Dr. Rameysh Danovani, consultant radiologist and medical director at Specialist Women's Imaging Singapore (SWI).

Breast cancer awareness campaigns tend to be aimed at older women who have experienced menopause or women with a family history of breast cancer, and that means many women are going undiagnosed, noted a report posted on 14 December by the UNTV news network. The Icon Cancer Center found this year 19% of women under the age of 44 are diagnosed with breast cancer in Singapore, and the figure is set to increase. Despite the statistic, younger women are still encouraged to engage in monthly self-exams and only come in for screening if they discover physical symptoms, the article stated.

In addition, changes in reproductive patterns, obesity levels, and dietary habits make it increasingly common for Asian women to develop breast cancer earlier than before, Danovani said. Another factor relevant for Asian women is that they are more likely to have dense breast tissue, which means it's much harder to detect breast cancer using standard 2D mammography, he explained.

One solution to the problem is to use 3D mammography, or digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). DBT acquires multiple images of the breast in a single sitting from various angles, and these slices of information can provide otherwise missing or inadequate details from a standard 2D mammogram, he continued.

In Singapore, DBT screenings are available at both public and private clinics and hospitals, but they cost more than the subsidized screenings, noted UNTV.

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