Breast Cancer: Landscape and Perceptions of Younger Women
Female Singapore|Take Charge of Your Breast Health
Breast Cancer: Landscape and Perceptions of Younger Women
Young women may think that they are too young to get cancer. They are likely to be busy with their career, marriage or setting up a new family. Cancer awareness remains low on their list of priorities. So when it hits, the blow might come even harder.
Dr Esther Chuwa

Breast cancer is a major health issue.

Globally, more than 2 million women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year1.

Nearly 6 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed amongst Singapore women each day. More than 2,000 women in Singapore are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and have their lives disrupted by the disease2.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer amongst women in Singapore and a leading cause of death. Breast cancer accounts for 1 in 6 cancer deaths amongst women here.

Breast cancer causes about one death a day in Singapore but survival rates have improved across the years owing to better treatment options available2.

I felt a lump in my breast but ignored it for several months. I’d hoped it would go away. I really didn’t think I would be diagnosed with cancer at my age. Angela Systems Analyst Single, diagnosed at 28.

While most breast cancer cases occur in women over 50, younger women are at risk and breast checks must not be neglected.

Though less common, it is not impossible to get breast cancer when you are young. About 1 in 6 women who suffer from breast cancer in Singapore are under the age of 45 2.

Younger women are less likely to be aware of the disease which may impact their lives greatly. A 2017 survey by Breast Cancer Foundation found that most women aged under 45 had expressed limited knowledge on breast cancer incidence.

2 in 5 women below 45 do not conduct self-examination nor attend regular breast cancer screening checks.

I have heard of breast cancer before. I just thought it could not be me. Juliette married and mother of one, diagnosed at 33.

Tracy Hoo

Human Resources Manager in Financial Services Married. Diagnosed at 29.

“When my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, that prompted me to do a self examination. I felt a lump and had it checked with the doctor.

My breasts looked normal but cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes. I don’t have any risk factors - I don't smoke, don’t drink, I have been fairly active and have been tested negative for family genetic factors. I broke down as soon as I received the news. Why me? I was newly married and had just moved into our new home.

How would I break the news to my parents? Did I not look after myself enough? I’m supposed to look after them till they’re old but will I survive this illness? I felt guilty.

I started reading blogs and watching online videos of survivors who had shared their breast cancer journey. I felt that only they could understand my days ahead.

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Take Charge of Your Breast Health