Welcome Address by Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower, Dr Amy Khor, at the Fifth Anniversary of Breast Clinic @ TTSH Atrium, on 26 June 2015 at Tan Tock Seng Hospital

Distinguished Guests,

1.            A good afternoon to all. I am delighted to be here today for this event by the Breast Clinic @ TTSH. The Breast Clinic @TTSH has worked tirelessly for five years providing multidisciplinary care for women to get back into the “pink” of health.

Background

2.            The Singapore Cancer Registry reports that the most common cancer amongst Singaporean women is breast cancer1 - Statistically, 1 out of 16 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes2. About 1,770 women in Singapore were diagnosed with breast cancer annually from 2009 to 2013.

3.            There are some risk factors associated with breast cancer that are under our control. We can lower our risk of developing breast cancer through some of our lifestyle choices, such as eating healthily, and exercising regularly to avoid weight gain, and avoiding or limiting our alcohol intake. For women who develop breast cancer, early detection and management of the cancer can result in good health outcomes, lowering the risk of serious complications.

4.            As early stages of breast cancer may not show any signs or symptoms, it is important for women to go for regular screening mammograms. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage more women who are aged 50 years and above to come forward to attend our national screening programme, Screen for Life. Screen for Life (BreastScreen Singapore) provides subsidised screening mammograms to Singaporeans and Permanent Residents at participating healthcare centres island-wide. Women aged 50 and above can also use their Medisave for screening mammograms at approved mammogram centres. If you know of someone who has not yet gone for her screening mammogram, now is the time to remind them to do so.

Breast Clinic’s 5th Anniversary – Launch of Hair Donation Drive and Information Booklet

5.            I understand that to commemorate its fifth anniversary, the Breast Clinic is launching 2 projects to further support patients with breast cancer.

6.            The first, “Coiffed for Courage”, is a ‘hair donation’ drive, for the collection of hair to make wigs for the Breast Clinic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The psychosocial aspect of recovery from cancer is an often neglected area in the treatment of cancer. It is all the more poignant as chemotherapy in most patients results in the loss of hair – a double impact to the patients’ self-esteem as they battle against this disease.

7.            “Coiffed for Courage” recognises the strength that patients show in battling the disease. We are grateful to the hair donors who have gone the extra mile to support these patients going through a difficult time by cutting 10 inches (or 25cm) of their hair. And I’m particularly heartened to see the young girls of CHIJ Toa Payoh volunteering to help out in this meaningful drive.

8.            The second project involves an illustrated information booklet to educate women about breast cancer and its treatment. It is sometimes a challenge for patients who neither read nor understand English very well to learn about their condition. With this booklet, we hope more patients will have a better understanding of the disease. This will not only enable them to help themselves, but also the people in their lives to understand what they are going through.

Closing

9.            In closing, I would like to commend the Breast Clinic for their efforts in engaging the community through education on the importance of regular breast cancer screening, and appropriate and timely treatment. I also applaud their commitment, not just by supporting their patients through treatment, but also through the years that they have been cancer survivors.

10.         I would also like to commend the many staff and patients, and most of all - our breast cancer survivors. Many patients have formed long lasting friendships and ties with the staff and each other through the activities organised by the Breast Clinic. Many are here together to celebrate with us, not only the anniversary of the clinic, but also their personal successes in the fight against breast cancer.

11.         I wish you every success in this meaningful event to raise funds to support this very noble cause!

12.         Thank you.

 

-End-

 

[1] Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report: Trends in Cancer Incidence, 2009-2013

[2] National Registry of Diseases Office.

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