Breast Wellness Guide: Breast Cancer Screening in Singapore

Breast cancer has been the most common cancer in Singaporean women for 30 years. A condition that, when detected late, may affect the quality of life of an individual. Late breast cancer stages may lead to incurable breast disease with symptoms such as painful sores, skin changes, and fatigue. As a result, early detection is …

Who Should Consider Breast Cancer Screening

The Singapore Health Promotion Board recommends that women above 50 undergo screening once every two years. While women between the ages of 40 and 49 should consider screening once a year. However, for younger adults, practising regular breast examinations once a month to look for abnormalities is encouraged. This includes visiting their physician for a clinical breast exam for screening.

Individuals with a higher risk for breast cancer should consult a doctor for a risk assessment to learn when breast cancer screening in Singapore is appropriate.

  • Women with a family/personal history of breast cancer
  • Women who began their period before age 12
  • Women who started menopause at an older age
  • Women exposed to radiation, e.g. received radiation treatments to the chest as a child
  • Women who have never been pregnant
  • Women who take postmenopausal hormone therapy

Don’t take chances on your breast health.

What Are Tests for Breast Cancer Screening in Singapore

Mammogram is the primary screening method for breast cancer. It produces X-rays that transmit electronic signals to a computer to form a digital image of the breasts. This detects abnormal breast tissue in its early stages, including microcalcifications, that may indicate breast cancer.

In addition, it identifies tumours less than 1 cm in size, allowing early clinical intervention and improved treatment outcomes. Due to its effectiveness and non-invasive nature, mammography for breast cancer screening is the standard in Singapore.

Other tests may include the following depending on the results and medical history.

  • Breast ultrasound for screening determines if the suspicious lesions are breast lumps or cysts not identified in the mammogram. This is necessary to increase the pick-up rate for cancers in Asian women due to the dense breast tissue.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is recommended for women in a high-risk group, For instance, women with BRCA 1 or 2 genes or those with a family history of breast cancer. In other cases, a breast MRI for screening is necessary when patients have undergone silicone injections or other chemicals for breast augmentation.

How to Prepare for a Mammogram

During a mammogram, breasts are compressed between two firm surfaces to spread the breast tissue and detect abnormal growths. Although this procedure may cause discomfort, early preparation for the screening ensures a smooth and comfortable experience.

  • Step 1 Schedule an appointment: Contact a reputable breast clinic to book your mammogram at the best time and mark it on your calendar.
  • Step 2 Inform the healthcare provider: Discuss breast-related concerns and relevant medical history. (e.g. breast implants, pregnancy, breastfeeding)
  • Step 3 Dress appropriately: Wear a two-piece outfit for ease and convenience. This will make it simpler to undress from the waist up during the procedure.
  • Step 4 Avoid certain products: Refrain from using any deodorant, powder, lotion, or perfume on your chest area or underarms. These products may show up in the mammogram, resulting in inaccurate readings.
  • Step 5 Stay relaxed: Communicate with the radiologist and let them know if you experience discomfort. Feeling nervous before a mammogram is normal, but focus on the potential benefits it may bring.

Make a brave choice for your breast health today.

When Is the Best Time to Undergo a Mammogram

Knowing the appropriate time to schedule your mammogram is essential for optimal results.


  1. Follow the Singaporean Health Promotion Board guidelines. Screening recommendation for women aged 50 and above is once every two years.
  2. Choose a time when you feel well-rested. Prioritise getting a good night’s sleep before the appointment.  Fatigue affects overall comfort and experience during the mammogram.
  3. Consider scheduling a mammogram after two weeks of your menstrual cycle. This ensures your breasts are less likely to be tender or swollen, allowing for a more comfortable experience.


  1. Rush the scheduling process. Choose a convenient time that aligns with your schedule to reduce unnecessary stress or anxiety associated with fitting in the appointment.
  2. Schedule during breastfeeding. Wait until at least four to six months after you have finished breastfeeding, allowing your breast tissue to return to its normal state.
  3. Schedule during pregnancy. Inform your healthcare provider if you suspect you might be pregnant. Mammograms are generally not performed during pregnancy unless a specific medical concern exists.

Why Is Timely Breast Cancer Screening Important

Women with breast cancer detected early have a 93 to 100% survival rate after five years. As a result, timely breast cancer screening allows women to safeguard their breast health and overall well-being.

Advantages of early and routine breast screening

  • Improve treatment outcomes
  • Increase effective treatment options
  • Reduce necessary aggressive medical interventions
  • Enables patients to make informed decisions without time pressure
By following health guidelines and considering personal risk factors, Singaporean women may proactively detect and fight breast cancer on time. Embrace the advantages of timely screening and make it an integral part of your breast wellness today.

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