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Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among Singaporean women, with one in 14 suffering from the condition before the age of 75. According to the Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report 2015, it is also the most lethal cancer among women, accounting for 17.3% of deaths from cancer from 2011–2015.

More women over the age of 50 in Singapore are now going for their first breast cancer screening. However, most still do not get a second check-up done two years later.

From 2016 to 2018, more than four-fifths of women who went for their first mammogram did not go for a second one, despite being in the age group at risk of breast cancer.

Doctors cautioned that an absence of abnormality in the first mammogram does not mean this will be the case in subsequent mammograms.

Assistant Professor Samuel Ow, researcher professor under the NUS Medicine’s Medical Science Cluster (MSC) Cancer Programme and consultant in the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) said that around 20% and 10% of breast cancer patients were diagnosed at stage 3 and 4 respectively because of poor screening uptake.

"Women aged 40 to 49 should discuss the option of screening mammograms once a year with their doctor, and those who fall outside of the screening guidelines should be reviewed by their doctor if they have risk factors such as a family history of breast or ovarian cancer."

Senior consultant at NCIS, Assistant Professor Chan Ching Wan added, "Regular breast screening in particular is important because it allows for early detection of most breast cancers, and we know that treatment of early stage breast cancer has far better outcomes."

"For any health screening to be effective, it cannot be a one-off event."

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