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Prof Chua Hong Choon, Chief Executive Officer, Yishun Health,


Distinguished Guests,


Ladies and Gentlemen,


               Thank you for inviting me today to join you at Yishun Health’s inaugural Breast Cancer Awareness Month Carnival 2023. It is heartening to see so many of you here on a Sunday morning.


2               Every October, we mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, there will be numerous events, talks and seminars organised to raise awareness of the disease and its impact, as well as to promote screening and prevention.


Breast Cancer in Singapore


3               As Prof Chua mentioned earlier, in Singapore, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Singaporean women aged 30 to 79 years, and the incidence is also on the rise. According to the Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report, between 2017 and 2021, almost 13,000 breast cancer incidences were reported, accounting for close to 30% of all cancer incidences among females. Notably, the incidence of breast cancer, even after adjusting for age, has risen nearly four times, compared to five decades ago.  According to the Singapore Cancer Registry, one in 13 women may develop breast cancer in their lifetime. 


Importance of Healthy Lifestyle and Regular Screening


4               While the risk of developing breast cancer due to factors such as genetics and family history cannot be modified, we can act on other risk factors such as dietary habits and physical activity to reduce one’s risk of developing breast cancer. It is important therefore to take steps towards a healthy lifestyle.


5               Breast cancer has one of the highest survival rates out of the most frequently occurring cancers among women, especially if detected early.  As such, regular breast cancer screening and monthly breast self-examination are important steps one can take for early detection and timely intervention. Together, we can make a difference in improving the prognosis and survival rates for breast cancer.


6               If you are 50 years old or above and have not had a mammogram done in the past two years, I encourage you to take the first step today by visiting the Mammobus parked near the main entrance of Tzu Chi Humanistic Youth Centre. I know  when  giving speeches, I am speaking to theconverted. Maybe if it is not you, your friends and family members who have not done their screening, please encourage them to do so. This is something preventable, something we can treat and halt before it.


Creating greater awareness about breast cancer


7               As a nation, we have made significant strides in promoting breast cancer awareness and providing access to screening services and healthy lifestyle activities. For example, the Health Promotion Board’s Screen for Life (SFL) programme offers subsidised mammograms to screen for breast cancer at participating centres island wide, including the Mammobus. Eligible Singapore Citizens enrolled in Healthier SG can also receive fully subsidised breast cancer screening at participating SFL centres.


8               While there are initiatives in place to raise public awareness and promote early cancer detection, some women may still be hesitant to undergo screening due to fear or misconceptions around screening. It is important that we work closely together to address these challenges and encourage more women to prioritise their breast health and attend regular screening. Many of us in this room have been working so hard to create awareness and I hope we can continue to build on those efforts.


9               Yishun Health’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month Carnival is one of such manifestation of this effort. This community event serves as a powerful reminder of our collective responsibility to fight against breast cancer. I am heartened to see that Yishun Health and its partners have arranged for a series of interesting and informative talks, such as the role of radiotherapy in breast cancer treatment and healthy diets that may reduce risk of breast cancer. There are also numerous wellness programmes for you to enjoy in the afternoon, such as calligraphy, mindfulness therapy and yoga.


10            We also have the privilege of having cancer survivors here today to share their breast cancer journeys with us. I am sure that they will be a source of encouragement for those who are battling breast cancer. Only by creating a supportive environment where conversations about breast health are encouraged, can we dispel the myths and eliminate the stigma surrounding breast cancer.




11            I urge everyone to share the knowledge gained from this event with your family members, your friends, your colleagues. Let us unite in this commitment to take charge of our health, promote early breast cancer screening and prevention, and encourage others to do the same. Thank you very much and I wish you a pleasant weekend ahead.

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