Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Singapore, accounting for nearly 30% of all cancers diagnosed in women. Early detection and timely treatment are crucial in improving the chances of survival and achieving a good quality of life post-treatment. The good news is that there are numerous treatment options available for Breast Cancer Treatment in Singapore, and the survival rates have been increasing in recent years.
This comprehensive guide is designed to help those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer in Singapore. It covers everything from diagnosis and staging to treatment options, choosing a treatment plan, managing side effects, and post-treatment care and follow-up. By the end of this guide, you will have a better understanding of it, and be better equipped to make informed decisions about your treatment options.
Diagnosis and Staging
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in Singapore, accounting for almost 30% of all cancers diagnosed in women. Early detection and accurate staging are essential for ensuring the best possible treatment outcomes.
Symptoms and Signs of Breast Cancer
The symptoms of breast cancer can vary from person to person, but some common signs include:
- Breast or underarm lumps
- Nipple discharge or retraction
- Changes in breast size or shape
- Skin dimpling or puckering
- Redness or scaling of the nipple or breast skin
It is important to note that some people may not experience any symptoms at all, which is why regular breast cancer screening is crucial for early detection.
Screening and Diagnostic Tests
The BreastScreen Singapore program offers free mammogram screening for women aged 50 to 69 years old. Women outside this age range can also get a mammogram but will have to pay for it. Other diagnostic tests for breast cancer include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and biopsy.
Importance of Accurate Staging
Breast Cancer Treatment in Singapore is highly helpful for women. Staging is the process of determining the extent of cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body. Accurate staging is essential for determining the appropriate treatment plan. In Singapore, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines are used for staging breast cancer. The stages of breast cancer are:
- Stage 0: Non-invasive breast cancer
- Stage I: Early-stage invasive breast cancer
- Stage II: Locally advanced invasive breast cancer
- Stage III: Advanced invasive breast cancer
- Stage IV: Metastatic breast cancer
Breast cancer staging can also help predict the patient’s prognosis and guide their treatment plan.
It is generally comprehensive and multidisciplinary, with options ranging from surgery and radiation to chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and hormone therapy.
Breast cancer surgery is a common treatment option in Singapore, with various procedures available depending on the stage of cancer. The most common procedure is lumpectomy, which involves removing the tumor and some surrounding tissue. Mastectomy, which involves removing the entire breast, may be necessary in some cases. Patients can expect to be hospitalized for a few days after surgery, and recovery time can vary depending on the procedure.
To eliminate any leftover cancer cells following surgery, radiation therapy is frequently employed. In Singapore, several types of radiation therapy are available, including external beam radiation therapy and brachytherapy. The former uses a machine to deliver radiation to the affected area, while the latter involves placing radioactive sources inside the breast tissue. Side effects may include skin irritation and fatigue.
Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells and is often used before or after surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence. In Singapore, various types of chemotherapy are available, including anthracycline-based chemotherapy and taxane-based chemotherapy. Hair loss, nausea, and exhaustion are possible side effects. The specific drugs used in chemotherapy depend on the type and stage of cancer being treated, as well as the patient’s overall health. Chemotherapy can be administered in different ways, such as intravenously, orally, or through injection. While chemotherapy can be a challenging and difficult treatment, it can also be a crucial part of a patient’s cancer treatment plan.
Targeted Therapy and Hormone Therapy
Targeted therapy and hormone therapy are often used to treat breast cancer that is hormone receptor-positive. It involves drugs that specifically target cancer cells, while hormone therapy involves drugs that block the effects of estrogen on breast cancer cells. In Singapore, several drugs are available for targeted therapy and hormone therapy, including Herceptin and Tamoxifen. Side effects can include fatigue and nausea.
Breast Cancer Treatment in Singapore is the most frequent malignancy among women. It is essential to detect it early and seek timely treatment to improve the chances of a successful recovery.
In Singapore, there are several treatment options available for breast cancer patients. State-of-the-art medical facilities and highly experienced medical professionals who specialize in breast cancer treatment equip the healthcare system well. Patients have access to the latest treatment options, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and hormone therapy.