Regular routine health screening is important to detect diseases which might be “silent” and to pick up diseases in their early stages so that timely treatment can be instituted and complications prevented.
Our Women’s Screening programme focuses on three important diseases that common and often neglected in women :
- Breast cancer
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Singapore. The number of women diagnosed with breast cancer is also increasing every year. Early stage breast cancer is curable with appropriate treatment involving surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Screening for early signs of cancer change in the breast is simple via an x-ray of the breasts called a mammogram together with an ultrasound scan of the breasts.
What is a mammogram?
It is a special type of x-ray of the breast which can detect early changes in the breast suspicious of cancer change. An example of this is the detection of clumps of microcalcification on the mammogram which might warrant further investigation and biopsy by a breast surgeon.
- Cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is not as common as breast cancer, however it is an easily preventable cancer as it has been found that human papilloma virus (HPV) infection is the most common cause of this cancer . You can “catch” and treat this cancer in the early pre-cancerous stage with a simple PAP smear screening test. All women aged 25 to 69 who ever had sexual activity should do routine regular PAP smear screening.
What is a PAP smear?
It is a test to collect cells from the cervix to look for changes under a microscope that could signify early cancer change. It can also detect HPV and other forms of infection. It is a safe procedure that only occasionally causes minimal discomfort.
(INSERT A PICTURE DIAGRAM SHOWING HOW PAP SMEAR IS DONE)
- Cervical cancer vaccine
Cervical cancer is strongly associated with Human Papilloma Virus Infection. (HPV) HPV infections are also associated with genital warts. All around the world, it is recommended that all women aged 9-45 receive the cervical cancer vaccine to reduce the risk of HPV infections leading to cervical cancer.
Osteoporosis is a condition when our bones become weak and break easily. This disease is common in menopausal women because of hormones changes in women after menopause. It is essential to thus screen for osteoporosis to prevent fractures of the spine, hip and other bones in the body. Screening can be done with a DEXA scan which is a special type of x-ray to see how strong or weak the bones are. If osteoporosis is detected, early treatment via lifestyle modifications, oral medications or injections can that be advised.