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Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is cancer that develops from breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, a newly inverted nipple, or a red or scaly patch of skin.

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Risk factors for breast cancer

  • Obesity
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Alcohol
  • Hormone replacement therapy during menopause
  • Radiation
  • Early age at first menstruation
  • Having children late or not at all
  • Older age
  • Family history of breast cancer

Diagnosis of breast cancer

The diagnosis of breast cancer is confirmed by taking a biopsy of the concerning lump. Once the diagnosis is made, further tests are done to determine if the cancer has spread beyond the breast and which treatments are most likely to be effective.

Breast cancer treatment

In those who have been diagnosed with cancer, a number of treatments may be used, including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy.

Types of surgery vary from breast-conserving surgery to mastectomy. Breast reconstruction may take place at the time of surgery or at a later date.

In those in whom the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, treatments are mostly aimed at improving quality of life and comfort.

3 May 2018
I saw Dr Hong for breast cancer surgery consultations. Dr Hong is a very efficient doctor who cuts to the chase. He does not spend time on small talk but delves into the medical issue at hand upfront. He is very authoritative, clear and firm in his treatment plans, which is very reassuring to me as a patient. He is also very confident in his judgements, built up over his years of experience, and does not shy away from telling patient the uncomfortable truths.
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10 Jun 2018
I saw Dr Hoe for breast cancer surgery consultations. He is an exceedingly gentle and patient doctor with wonderful bedside manners who really put patients at ease in difficult times. He is a very thorough and knowledgeable doctor with a wealth of experience. He is a rare gem of a doctor with a very strong human touch.
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27 Jul 2018
Dr Seah Chee Seng is very skilled in breast reconstruction surgery for breast cancer patients. I am satisfied, and also know of many others who had breast reconstruction done by him who are happy with his work too. He is a very experienced doctor who is reassuring to patients that he knows what he is doing. He is very knowledgeable and cautious in patient care. No fuss and no frills, he delivers.
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14 Nov 2017
Very good experience with Dr Ong Kong Wee who did my breast surgery. He is experienced, caring and friendly. He goes the extra mile by making himself easily contactable by patients and gives good and well-thought out replies to patient's queries. Some doctors may come across as patronizing to patients, but not Dr Ong. He is also quick-thinking and on the ball. Definitely a reassuring doctor to go to.
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14 Oct 2017

One thing I love about Dr Hoe is how he operates like a teacher. My mammograms, chest X-ray and ultrasound scans were all clipped up on the lightbox for examination. During my recent visit, all my scans were clear. The only thing of note was that I had a little cyst in my left breast, which also showed up in last year’s scans. Dr Hoe was so confident that it was not something to worry about, that any worry I had melted away. 

Dr Hoe Ah Leong always manages to calm me down so I could accept even having a mastectomy!

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24 Sep 2017

After being diagnosed,I sought a 2nd opinion with another family GP who gave me the same contact for the breast surgeon Dr Hoe Ah Leong as the first GP, I had a biopsy which found that I had a big lump on my right breast and it was stage 0 cancer (DCIS).

Dr Hoe advised that I should go for mastectomy. After much sharing of how I felt I didn't want to lose the feeling of motherhood with Dr Hoe, he proposed he will d0 his best to spare my nipple, and I agreed to a mastectomy and reconstruction.

Everyone in the surgery team was very caring and thoughtful, they comforted me, and held my hands coz they knew how scared I was. Dr Hoe did not keep me waiting, he came in and greeted me with a big smile and I knew I was in good hands. I always felt that Dr Hoe was like a daddy and he has this way of just letting his patients let out their feelings and tears as he advises them and making sure they make the right decisions. Dr Hoe also did a 4hour surgery for almost 9 hours, as he painstakingly and patiently did a clean job of moving my breast tissues while keeping my nipple intact as he promised, which was why the op was much longer.

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18 Apr 2018

I was referred to Dr Low Sze Chuan by my good friend, a two-time breast cancer survivor. As I’m also a cancer survivor, I wanted to seek his opinion on a breast issue. Dr Low is not only very experienced with an excellent track record he is compassionate, patient and kind!

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8 Nov 2017

Dr Chong is attentive and genuinely interested in helping his patients. His extensive experience is obvious when he explains to his patients the indications for the various options of treatments available.

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17 Jan 2018

Before my surgery, I did a research about Dr. Hong Ga Sze to find out more about him. I've read that he is one of the top doctors in Singapore and he is a cancer surgeon. His expertise includes breast cancer, head and neck tumors, including thyroid tumors. He has more than 20 years of experience, so he must have done thousands of thyroid surgeries already. When I first met him he was serious-toned, explained everything in detail and gave me good advice. After the surgery, Dr Hong was encouraging and reassuring. Dr. Hong was so happy when he told me about the good result. Finally, I saw Dr. Hong Ga Sze smile!

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21 Sep 2017

After my surgery, both my husband and I were touched when Dr Ong Kong Wee came to check on me after finishing his clinic work around 6pm. I was informed that he removed a cluster of microcalcifications from my left breast as well. 

I am glad to announce that Dr Ong has given me a clean bill of health!

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7 Nov 2017

Dr Hoe Ah Leong is a very kind and patient breast surgeon. He is really caring and I would highly recommend him!

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15 Oct 2017

Dr Bertha Woon is very professional, factual, and seeing her was a pleasant experience. We had an open discussion about the "treatment plan". She wasn't pushy about prescriptions, and for my case, she was positive that it should be better in time (and after I stop breastfeeding), so she gave me an "open date". Go back only if I want to, or need to.

My friend, however, went to her and required surgery and she did it for her, all the pre-op and post-op as well. Her experience and feedback was also very positive.

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17 Feb 2018

I'm very grateful to Dr Yong Chee Kong. After being diagnosed with invasive breast cancer on that fateful Monday, I was in a state of shock and desperately wanted a second doctor's opinion.

Despite having a fully booked schedule, Dr Yong still let me in for an appointment. 
I can't explain why, but my fears and uncertainties disappeared after listening to his diagnosis and clear explanation. We're relieved and thankful to have taken his advice. 
As I also had cysts, Dr Yong did a procedure whereby he used a needle to extract the fluid and the cysts were gone. He was very gentle and swift, leaving me with little to no discomfort.
After my breast surgery, my hubby saw the wound and said in astonishment, "Wow..it's so beautiful..how did he do it?"
I want to thank Dr Yong for opening a new chapter in my life and wish him good health so that he will continue to save other patients

 

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3 Jan 2017

Dr Lim Siew Kuan listens attentively and is very detailed in her examination. she gives clear explanations for the condition I have. She takes special care when communicating with the radiologist so the area of concern is correctly identified.

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17 Mar 2017

I was 4 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Dr Wee Siew Bock was very patient and soft-spoken. He even liaised with my gynae to decide on the best treatment option for me, which gave me one less thing to worry about. 

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30 Jul 2017

The clinic exudes zen and tranquil, cosy ambience. Professional and friendly service. Dr Wee Siew Bock is knowledgeable, pragmatic and a sincere doctor. Assistant Christina is always cheerful with positive vibe whenever I have my medical checkup. I always feel at ease with them, knowing that I am in good hands. Heartfelt appreciation to Dr Wee and his staff for the lovely care and warm thoughts always.

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15 May 2017

I have been with Dr Esther Chuwa for over a decade now and she is one of the best. She is gentle and professional. The only downside is the waiting time, but she is really popular so it is normal to wait for a while despite having an appointment.

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27 Feb 2018

I see Dr Georgette Chan at Mt Elizabeth, she is really wonderful and performed a surgery on me with great results!

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14 Oct 2017

When I met Dr Mona Tan, she told me that if I do not want a mastectomy then it will be a breast conservation treatment. I will have to go for 6 months chemotherapy to shrink the tumors but before that she will need to do a procedure for me whereby she will need to insert clippers where my cancer cells are at to indicate where to operate after chemotherapy has shrink them to remove them and also to fill the good tissue into them. She also showed me research (medical research done by breast doctors around the world that show the survival rates on patients who had mastectomy and breast conservation treatment after a 5 and 10 years gap, and % of patients who did breast conservation treatment is higher.) She had done a lot of such procedures and from the patients in her clinic, I think they all looked happy including their husbands.

I was so happy that I decided there and then she is going to be my doctor. She showed me hope!

 

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30 Nov 2017

For those who are doing their research on potential doctors here's my comment on Dr Joy Lee: She is wonderful, very cheerful and assuring. She definitely knows what she is doing, she can tell if the lumps are malignant or not, just by performing ultrasound scans. And like all doctors, she works fast. So do your homework before you see her, write down all the questions that you want to ask her, and she will be happy to answer them. Just that because her pace is pretty fast, I tend to lose track and forget to ask her the questions I meant to ask. I feel that she's great albeit a tad expensive (specialist in private hospital, what do you expect?), and so far, post-surgery, I felt almost close to no pain at all :)

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26 Apr 2018

Sept 2015 i accidentally discovered a lump on my left breast. long story short, i went to 2 doctors in Jakarta (RS Omni and RS PIK) and both of them said it was a tumour and needed to be removed by surgery. i was scared to death, as the lump was not only on my left breast, but also on my right breast. but the second doctor (RS PIK) said they were most probably to be malignant. she diagnosed them as FAM.

Nonetheless, i went to Singapore with my parents in 2016 to get the lump removed. We saw two doctors and decided on Dr Joy Lee.  Dr Joy Lee was great, very patient in explaining the diagnosis and has vast experience. Dr Lee was also more affordable. 

I underwent a 2hour day-surgery with Dr Lee. When I went 2 days after the operation to get the pathology result, this time, Dr Lee welcomed me with a big smile.  She said I got everything removed, and no DCIS were detected.

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14 Apr 2017

I would like to thank Dr Joy Lee for her professional medical services during the bleakest period of my life. She is personally vested in her patients’ well-being and ensures that they are in the best position to make the right decisions. My first operation was done on 4th October 2007. It was intended to remove a benign lump in the breast as indicated by an initial needle aspiration biopsy. However, during the operation, she discovered cancerous lumps in both breasts. Dr Lee closed the operation and provided me the necessary information about both mastectomies and lumpectomies in which I chose the latter. It has been a decade since the operations and I have made a full recovery with her medical treatment.
Beyond the physical torment of cancer, I was also depressed at knowledge of my condition. It was to the extreme of suicide. However, Dr Lee was quick to note my depression and referred me for psychiatric treatment. She also encouraged me throughout my road to recovery. I deeply appreciate Dr Lee for her care and professionalism and truly respect her profession for saving the lives of many including mine.

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5 Nov 2017

Dr Karen Yap was recommended by my gynae when I had a lump a few years ago. She was gentle and made me feel comfortable. I did a mammogram as well. However I later went on to KKH breast centre instead because private specialists' charges are too high.

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13 May 2017

Dr Christopher Chui was my chosen reconstruction surgeon. He came across as quiet and collected. He looked young (but he is not). He had good experience under his belt and his work (through his photographs) looked good. Looking at his patients' photos, I could not tell which breast had been reconstructed. With the other surgeons' photos, I could guess.

Throughout our meeting, he politely asked standard questions, did the usual physical examinations and took my teasing casually. Not everybody is as easy-going during work, and especially when faced with anxious, angry, or disillusioned patients. Cancer patients can be all of those, and sometimes, more. Dr Chui was never fazed. Every question I had, he used his best endeavours to answer. He was sincere and had a calming demeanour. I liked that I could shoot questions off the top of my head and he would have an answer for me everytime. A measured, sincere, to-the-point answer. If he really did not have the answer, he would say so. I trusted him because he was honest. He never scoffed, never made me feel like I did not understand his job and was too naive asking those questions, never blinked. I fixed my surgery date during that very first meeting. I did not have to think twice. I had seen many surgeons before him...for members of the family about various health issues. Dr Chui was, to my mind, the ideal surgeon for my case.

Prior to surgery, I would email him and receive detailed replies and customised advice. (by that, I mean, not the standard "It's fine. Don't worry. I've done this many times." type of unhelpful reply.) Post surgery, he continued to answer my emails in detail. I always felt reassured and more knowlegeable after reading his replies. He is confident yet very gentle during physical examinations and wound dressing changes. He is highly sensitive to his patients' state of mind and his quiet presence has a calming effect. He is focused on his craft and he is very good at it. His passion for his specialty is reflected in how I like my reconstructed breast very much. It is natural looking, my shape (that is, it looks like my original breast, only better) and it works. It works because I don't feel like I have a reconstructed breast. It dresses up the same way. People compliment me all the same. No one is any wiser unless I tell them. Dr Chui has an eye for the aesthetics. Not all plastic surgeons do. You have to see their work to understand. Even in the ward, as I was lying there semi-conscious, Dr Chui also did my nipple construction.

There were extensive emails between us prior to the surgery. It was a short procedure under GA, 6 months post reconstruction. But his advice to use skin grafted from my other nipple was excellent. The tissue used has natural pigmentation and projection. Magic. It was carefully grafted and shaped.

Dr Chui also tattoos areolas to finish the breast reconstruction process. Quite the marathon because every stage requires time for the body to heal before another part can be 'fixed'. I'm all done now. My husband is very pleased with the results. Some spouses feel differently post mastectomy but mine was done beautifully and it has not caused him any distress, on the contrary. I'm open to communicating with anyone interested to ask any questions about Dr Chui or about my experience under his medical care.

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ASK DR RADHIKA LAKSHMANAN: BREAST CANCER

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Singaporean women. According a report from the Singapore Cancer Registry, breast cancer constituted 29.4% per cent of all cancers among women between 2008 and 2012. 

Research has uncovered many risk factors associated with breast cancer, helping doctors to provide a fairly good estimate of a woman's risk of breast cancer.

For example, a lady who is aged 40 years and above, with a first degree relative (i.e. sister, mother or maternal grandmother) who has breast cancer is at a high risk of getting breast cancer.

Early detection can save lives. Learn more from Dr Radhika, an experienced breast surgeon as she host a QnA session where she answers questions on breast cancer. 

READ MORE >
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Dear Harini, Protopic 0.1% ointment is a non steroid ointment that has anti-inflammatory effects of steroids. The advantage is that it does not cause skin thinning and atrophy which is associated with steroid use. The concern of cancer and protopic ointment arises from the 'bl...
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Hi Clara, the causes of cancer are multi-factorial. For example, the following factors all play a role: Family history/genetics Lifestyle factors such as die and exercise Body weight Smoking and alcohol Sleep habits Exposure to environmental cancer-causing chemi...
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Hi Beauty, First and foremost, I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis of breast cancer and I hope you are recovering well from your surgery. In the treatment of any cancer, it is always important to consider the stage of the tumour (how advanced it is, how much it has spread...
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Dear CTS, It is unlikely for SLE to be caused by the breast cancer chemotherapy. There are cases of drug-induced lupus, but this is usually when you are on the drug treatment and unlikely to occur a year after treatment. Furthermore, breast cancer chemotherapy is not a common cau...
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