Breast Cancer

What you need to know about Breast Cancer

How Common Is Breast Cancer In Singapore?

Breast cancer is currently one of the leading cancers among women in Singapore. Unfortunately, it is also one of the top causes of death among all cancers diagnosed in women.

This is highly concerning since conducting regular screening tests and obtaining an early diagnosis can significantly reduce the mortality rate of cancer. Studies have shown that patients diagnosed with advanced stages of breast cancer are associated with a poor prognosis and higher treatment costs. In contrast, the 5-year relative survival rate of breast cancer is as high as 99% for those diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer.

Thus, prompt diagnosis, treatment and management of breast cancer is pertinent in fighting cancer. At ICS, we offer Cancer-Focused health screenings dedicated to ensuring you receive an accurate diagnosis and receive the treatment you need as soon as possible.

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What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Breast Cancer?

Some of the most common symptoms of breast cancer are:

  • New lump in the breast or underarm area.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Swelling or thickening of breast skin.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or unusual bleeding or discharge in the nipple area.

On top of doing regular breast self-examinations, it is recommended for women over the age of 40 to undergo a mammogram or breast scan once every year unless your doctor advises otherwise. For women aged 50 and above, it is recommended to undergo a mammogram once every two years.

The mammogram is the most reliable screening test for breast cancer and can detect the presence of cancerous lumps way before they are felt with the hand. An ultrasound may also be recommended for younger women.

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A doctor may undergo a series of tests to pick up any abnormalities and conduct further checks to confirm cancer. Depending on your diagnosis, there are varying treatment options available including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, systemic therapy and rehabilitation. This will all be discussed in detail with you during your check-up.

Despite its prevalence in Singapore and worldwide, the first step towards protecting yourself against breast cancer is to go for regular breast scans and health check-ups to monitor your health and well-being.

At International Cancer Specialists (ICS), we have a multidisciplinary team of medical specialist partners (the UK or/and US Board-Certified) who are dedicated to delivering patient-centred and quality treatment. Contact us to learn more about our breast cancer test cost or arrange a breast cancer scan or health check-up today. 


Why should I get a breast cancer screening test?

A mammogram is most commonly used to detect and diagnose breast cancer. Getting regular cancer screening tests is vital to increasing the likelihood of catching cancer early and receiving prompt treatment. Breast cancer patients can return to leading healthy, fulfilling lives.

How much does breast cancer treatment cost in Singapore?

This is entirely dependent on the diagnosis of your cancer and the treatment that is needed. Upon diagnosis, our doctors will be able to advise you further on the cost of your breast cancer treatment, as well as how to seek financial assistance should you require it.

What is the most common treatment for breast cancer?

The most common form of breast cancer treatment is surgery, which removes the tumor and nearby margins. When it comes to surgery, there are two types in general: lumpectomy and mastectomy. Lumpectomy or partial mastectomy is a type of surgery that removes the cancerous part. The surgeon will try their best to leave as much of the natural breast tissue as possible. If the cancer is invasive, it may be paired with a radiation therapy. Mastectomy is where the surgeon removes the entire breast, including the breast tissue and other nearby tissues, if necessary. It may be paired with reconstruction surgery to restore the chest area.

Where does breast cancer spread first?

Breast cancer usually starts at the inner lining of the milk ducts or the lobules that contain the breast milk. The first places the breast cancer will spread to are the lymph nodes under your arm, inside your breast, and near the collarbone. Should this cancer spread to other areas, it is considered metastatic.

Why should I get a breast cancer screening test?

A mammogram is most commonly used to detect and diagnose breast cancer. Getting regular cancer screening tests is vital to increasing the likelihood of catching cancer early and receiving prompt treatment. Breast cancer patients can return to leading healthy, fulfilling lives.

When should I start getting breast cancer screening tests in Singapore?

Although breast cancer at early stages doesn’t show any symptoms, a biannual breast cancer test is recommended for women aged 50 and above.
Women aged 40 and 49 should seek a doctor’s advice on a breast cancer check-up. Regardless of age, you may want to consult a doctor for a breast scan if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Feeling a lump in the breast
  • All or part of the breast is swelling, even if you cannot feel any visible lump
  • Skin irritation or dimpling, similar to an orange peel
  • Breast or nipple pain
  • The nipple has turned or was being pulled inwards
  • Nipple discharge that is not breast milk
  • Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin

Can I afford private cancer treatment?

Unknown to many, private cancer treatment may actually be within reach for many of us. Over the past 13 years, International Cancer Specialists has been helping our patients process their treatment claims from multiple insurance companies in Singapore and around the world. As such, our patients from all walks of life have been able to comfortably finance their treatments.

How do I plan for the financing of my cancer treatment?

Be at ease as at ICS you never walk alone, let us plan for financing together. Upon your visit to ICS for treatment, we provide free financial counselling to assist you to make an informed choice on finance matters.
Our team of nurses with years of experience in handling international, local, and corporate insurance stand ready to assist with any issues with the financing of your treatment that you may have.


More women in Singapore diagnosed with advanced breast cancer; younger women not spared disease. (2021). Retrieved 26 August 2021, from Anderson, B. O., Braun, S., Carlson, R. W., Gralow, J. R., Lagios, M. D., Lehman, C., . . . Vargas, H. I.
(2003). Overview of breast health care guidelines for countries with limited resources. The breast journal, 9(s2).
Survival Rates for Breast Cancer. (2021). Retrieved 23 August 2021, from