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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.

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.

1% of men and 12% of women have been diagnosed with breast cancer. To paint a more positive image, 7 out of 8 women have NOT been diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. 

Cancer grows through cell division, and cannot be felt through touch until the 30th division. By the time you feel a cancerous lump on your breast, the cancer has usually been around for 2-5 years. 

There are 4 stages to breast cancer. To gauge which stage of breast cancer an individual is on, doctors use measurements such as:

  • The size of the tumor within the breast
  • The number of affected lymph nodes
  • Signs indicating that the cancer cells have invaded other organs of the body

Breast cancer treatment

Rest assured, there is a cure to the most common type of breast cancer: ductal carcinoma in situ.
In those who have been diagnosed with cancer, a number of treatments may be used. For example:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Hormonal therapy
  • 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.

Mastalgia (breast pain) is a common cause of discomfort and anxiety for women. Breast pain alone is rarely a presenting symptom of cancer. Mastalgia is more common in pre-menopausal women than in post-menopausal women. The etiology of breast pain is unknown. Its relationship t...
10 Oct 2019
It means that there is an unusual growth in your breast and it should be investigated thoroughly. A phyllodes tumour is a fibroepithelial neoplasm comprising of breast tissue and can benign, borderline or malignant in nature. An intramammary lymph node that is detected in an ultr...
5 Aug 2019
Dear Ms Kay, A positive sentinel lymph node biopsy is certainly something to worry about. Once diagnosed as positive, it usually indicates the presence of cancer cells within the lymphatic system and suggests that the cancer is present and has also spread significantly. However, even with the pres...
4 Jun 2019
A mammography is usually used as a screening tool to evaluate breast lesions. The mammogram is currently the most reliable screening tool for breast cancer. It can detect the presence of cancerous lumps even before they can be felt with the hand. There are other tests such as bre...
2 Jun 2019
Men can also have breast cancer, albeit rare. Breast swelling in men, also known as gynaecomastia, is usually an indication of some form of hormonal imbalance. Medications can also cause gynaecomastia. Male breast swelling warrants medical attention. Yes it is a cause for concern.
25 Apr 2019
Thank you for your question. There can be multiple causes of a lump affecting the armpit. The common causes would be an ingrown hair, infection of a hair follicle, cysts or lipomas. The more worrying causes like an enlarged lymph node due to breast cancer must also be excluded. I...
11 Mar 2019
Dr Terence Goh
"Plastic Surgeon at AZATACA Plastic Surgery"
(17 Reviews)
Thank you for the D2D enquiry. I hope that you have recovered well from your breast surgery and I am happy that you have decided on a delayed reconstruction. There are many benefits of breast reconstruction and you have certainly made the right choice. The treatment options for r...
25 Feb 2019
Hi there, Your symptoms sound like they way be related to some form of nipple eczema or dermatitis. Especially since the symptoms worsen with sweating and is associated with intense itch. What you should do is to see a doctor for a consultation as only when a doctor examines t...
15 Feb 2019

If You Have A Family History Of Breast Cancer, Should You Go For A Prophylactic Mastectomy?

If You Have A Family History Of Breast Cancer, Should You Go For A Prophylactic Mastectomy?

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Singaporean women. More than 29% of all cancers diagnosed in women are breast cancers. 

Studies have shown that your breast cancer risk is higher if you have a first-degree or multiple relatives with breast cancer. 

In hopes of avoiding future disease, a DxD reader with a strong family history of breast cancer wanted to know if she should go for a prophylactic mastectomy even though she has not been diagnosed with breast cancer. She shared that her mother and two of her aunts had the disease. 

Dr Evan Woo, a plastic surgeon who is noted for his specialisation in breast cancer surgery and reconstruction shared his professional advice

544 views 21 Jan 2019

Breast Reconstruction Benefits Breast Cancer Patients; This Singaporean Plastic Surgeon Explains

Breast Reconstruction Benefits Breast Cancer Patients; This Singaporean Plastic Surgeon Explains

Breast reconstruction procedures in Singapore were not very popular in the past due to a variety of reasons. However, as the number of women in the country diagnosed with breast cancer rises, many are beginning to opt for the surgery in order to improve their lives after mastectomies.

According to accredited plastic surgeon, Dr Christopher Chui, breast reconstruction is an integral part of breast cancer management. The aim with this surgery is to restore the natural form of patients' breasts after mastectomies.

He wrote a very detailed guide on DxD covering what to expect from breast reconstruction surgery in Singapore. Here are some of the key takeaways.

415 views 11 Jan 2019
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Disclaimer: Any answers provided are for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment.

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