Breast cancer affects many women in Singapore. Fortunately, with early detection and treatment, patients are able to make a full recovery. Learn more about what breast cancer is, symptoms and risk factors, as well as the options for breast cancer treatment in Singapore.
What is breast cancer?
Breast cancer refers to cancer that occurs in the breast, and is the most commonly occurring cancer amongst women in Singapore, with over 2000 women diagnosed each year. The type of breast cancer is determined by where cancer cells begin to grow in the breast, such as the ducts, lobules, and connective tissue. Common symptoms of breast cancer include the presence of breast lumps, breast thickening or swelling, irritation or redness of the skin, bloody nipple discharge, and pain. Risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing breast cancer include age, specific genes, family history of breast cancer, reproductive history, diet, body weight and extent of physical activity, as well as intake of hormones.
Compared to other forms of cancer, the chances of surviving breast cancer markedly increases with early detection, particularly from stages 0 to III where the cancer tumour has yet to metastasise and spread to other parts of the body. Early detection facilitates prompt breast cancer treatment, allowing Singaporean women an excellent chance of making a full recovery. Women above the age of 40 are recommended to undergo a mammogram, which uses X-rays to screen for key symptoms of breast cancer. We also provide radiotherapy treatments at affordable costs, allowing Singaporean women to seek timely treatment to beat cancer and continue living fulfilling lives.
What radiotherapy treatments are used to treat breast cancer?
Generally, breast cancer is treated via surgery in the form of a lumpectomy or mastectomy, chemotherapy, as well as radiotherapy. Here are some commonly utilised breast cancer radiotherapy treatments in Singapore.
Conventional, also known as 3D Conformational External Beam Radiotherapy, 3D CRT is one of the most commonly used breast cancer treatments in Singapore. It incorporates imaging technologies such as MRI and PET to create detailed 3D images of the tumour and surrounding tissues, allowing for the precise direction and conformation of radiation beams as well as the proper radiation dosage needed. This reduces the damage to surrounding healthy tissue, while delivering radiation more safely and accurately.
IMRT stands for Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy, which utilises multiple small beams of radiation directed from various angles to deliver radiation to the targeted region. Similarly to 3D CRT, IMRT also utilises precisely modulated radiation beams which conform to the 3D shape of the tumour, greatly increasing its precision and significantly reducing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. This in turn results in fewer side effects over the course of treatment.
APBI stands for Accelerated Partial Breast Irradiation, which utilises precise radiation beams to destroy cancer cells in a partial area as compared to the entire chest. APBI involves a shorter treatment course compared to other forms of radiotherapy, and is particularly effective when utilised following breast surgery. It offers various advantages to patients, such as minimised radiation exposure which results in fewer side effects and greater success in saving healthy breast tissue.
Our clinic in Singapore is committed to providing cost-effective radiotherapy treatment. We accept various modes of billing and payment, along with Medisave and various forms of insurance to alleviate treatment costs. This lets you enjoy peace of mind and not compromise on your health, particularly for cancers such as breast cancer where early detection and treatment is paramount.
Looking for effective breast cancer treatment in Singapore? Get in touch with us today to arrange for an appointment and consultation.
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Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist
Medical Director of ME Novena Specialist Group Pte Ltd
MBBS (Aust), FRANZCR (Radiation Oncology)
Dr Johann Tang is the Senior Consultant and Medical Director of ME Novena Specialist Group Pte Ltd. at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and an Assistant Professor at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University Singapore. Dr Tang’s journey towards being a radiation oncologist in Singapore started with him obtaining his medical degree from the University of Newcastle, Australia, in 1998 and completing his house officer training at the Hunter Area Health Service before returning to Singapore to complete his National Service in the Singapore Armed Forces Medical Corps. Thereafter, he did his specialty training in Radiation Oncology in Singapore at the National University Hospital (NUH). After obtaining his fellowship from the Royal Australian College of Radiologists (FRANZCR) in 2007, Dr Tang underwent breast brachytherapy fellowships at the University of Wisconsin as well as prostate brachytherapy, skin, and paediatric fellowships at the Peter Maccallum Cancer Institute, Australia. In 2021, Dr Tang underwent a fellowship at the New York Proton Centre with Dr Charles Simone in head and neck, re-irradiation, paediatric, prostate, and lung cancers.
Why Choose Dr Johann Tang
Dr Johann Tang is an experienced radiation oncologist and cancer doctor who aims to deliver the highest level of care to his patients, especially when it comes to radiation therapy and cancer treatment. As a cancer specialist in Singapore, he is dedicated to understanding each patient’s condition and providing holistic, customised care that is both effective and compassionate. With ethics and empathy at the core of our practice, we strive to understand your individual needs and provide care that is compassionate and responsive.
"I guarantee my very best expertise delivered with compassion and dignity as we journey TOGETHER to BEAT this dreaded illness."