Saturday, 29 December 2007

Worrying news...Good effort from BCF

Women from minority races less likely to go for screening: BCF

SINGAPORE : Women from minority races are less likely to go for breast cancer screening, according to the Breast Cancer Foundation.

Although it does not track figures officially, it said it noticed this trend from its breast cancer screening exercises.

With one in every 20 women in Singapore projected to get breast cancer and five women dying from it each week, early screening can help save lives.

That is why early screening is a big priority of the Breast Cancer Foundation.

But one trend it has detected at such screening exercises could potentially be of concern.

Christine Ang, General Manager, Breast Cancer Foundation, said: "We notice there is more Chinese turnout and fewer of the Indians and the Malays - we don't really know the reason why.

"I remember we did an outreach at Little India and the response was very poor. It could be that they are more conservative and do not talk about issues of the breast."

Another group it is concerned about is the less fortunate - across all races.

Ms Ang said: "I think a lot of them fear the worst - what if they contract breast cancer and then what? And treatment is still very expensive."

Thus, for the first time, the Breast Cancer Foundation has tied up with Carestream Health to offer free screenings to such less fortunate women, which finally encouraged more to go for screening.

Examples are women like 45-year-old Madam Tay Hui Leng, who has three young daughters, and 66-year-old Madam Salmah Sulaiman.

Madam Salmah said: "My children have always asked me to go for screening; I would agree, but I wouldn't go. Now, I have been compelled to do (it), so it's okay now."

When asked why she did not want to go for screening earlier, Madam Salmah said that she was afraid.

Madam Tay said: "It's very important for us as we reach this age (to go for) mammograms. I have been trying to ask myself to go many times but I keep having the fear of going.

"But with the help of Care Corner... (they are) very encouraging, (they) asked me to come, and(it is) free, so think I should (go), not just for my sake, but also for the sake of my family."

A mammogram usually costs at least S$50

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