Having a risk factor does not mean that you are sure to get breast cancer. The KK Breast Centre at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) explores some of these risk factors.
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Information provided by the KK Breast Centre, KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth group.
AM I AT RISK FOR BREAST CANCER?
Generally speaking, one out of every 17 women in Singapore is likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. That’s nearly 6 per cent of all women in the city-state.
As a woman, your risk of developing breast cancer is higher if:
- You are > 40 years old.
- You have a close relative (mother, sister or daughter) who has breast cancer.
- You have taken hormone replacement therapy for more than 5 years after menopause.
- Previous breast biopsies have shown abnormal results.
- You had specific types of radiotherapy for lymphoma.
A woman’s breast cancer risk is also increased, though less markedly, if she:
- Has never been pregnant or had her first pregnancy after the age of 30
- Began to menstruate before the age of 12, or reached menopause after the age of 55
Women must bear in mind that breast cancer can affect anyone at any time, even in the absence of high risk factors.
WHEN SHOULD I GO FOR A MAMMOGRAM?
To catch breast cancer in its early stages, you shouldn’t wait for symptoms, such as a lump in the breast, to become apparent. Current recommendations include a breast self-examination every month, a yearly clinical breast examination by a medical professional, and a mammogram at least once every two years in women above the age of 50.
Women between the ages of 40 to 50 are advised to have an annual mammogram.
FAST FACTS ABOUT BREAST CANCER
- There are more than 1,400 new cases of breast cancer in Singapore every year, most of them at an early stage.
- About a fifth of women diagnosed with breast cancer have a family history.
- The survival rate for women with breast cancer after 5 years is 80 per cent.