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Leong HSS, Heng R, Emmanuel SC
Correspondence: Dr Leong Soh Sum Helen, email@example.com
Introduction Breast cancer is the commonest female cancer in Singapore. It is steadily rising with an incidence of 53.1 cases per 100,000 persons per year among women. Screening for detection of early lesions which are highly curable helps to reduce mortality.
Methods Over three afternoon sessions in December 2003, 224 female patients aged 40-65 years, participated in interviews conducted by the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, Singapore. The survey sought information on mammographic screening history, the time interval since the previous mammographic screening, and the reasons for not going for the screening.
Results The survey found that only 26.4 percent (28 out of 106) among those aged 40 to 49 years had mammographic screening done within the past one year, and 43.2 percent (51 out of 118) among those aged 50 to 65 years had screening done within the last two years. Chinese women were twice more likely than Malay women to have a mammogram done. The commonest reasons for not wanting to have mammographic screening among women who did not have a mammogram done or had mammogram done more than two years ago, were lack of time (42.5 percent), fear of pain during the procedure (26.9 percent), and the belief that cancer would not happen to them (24.6 percent).
Conclusion Despite publicity on breast cancer being the commonest cancer among women in Singapore and cure being possible if the malignancy was detected early, close to half of the women aged 40-65 years old who attended the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics did not have mammographic screening done. One-quarter of the women who did not have mammogram screening did not do so as they did not think cancer would happen to them.
Keywords: breast cancer, cancer screening, mammographic screening, mammography
Singapore Med J 2007; 48(1): 34–40