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Breast Cancer Screening Programme

Breast cancer is the most common women’s cancer in Singapore. Most women are at risk of breast cancer, and the risk increases with age. The Breast Cancer Screening programme has been screening Singaporean women since 2002, under a highly subsidised rate. Find out everything you need to know below.

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Breast cancer is a cancer that starts in the breast tissues. As with most cancers, the exact cause is not known, but experts believe that it may be due to genetic and environmental factors. With early detection, the chances of survival can be greatly increased.
You are at higher risk if:
You are 50 years of age or older; and / or
You have a family history of breast cancer
Besides age and a family history of breast cancer, other risk factors include:
A history of ovarian cancer
Early onset of menstruation
Late
menopause
Having your first child after the age of 30
Having few children or never having children
Being on hormone replacement therapy
Weight gain, especially after menopause
Drinking alcohol

The best way to protect yourself from breast cancer is to go for regular mammograms. Doing a monthly breast self-examination also keeps you aware of any changes that are occurring to your breasts.
Mammograms are a low-dose X-ray examination on the breasts. During a mammogram, the breast is gently compressed between two plates of the X-ray machine, one breast at a time. It takes a few seconds to get a good image of the breasts.

The images are then used by radiologists to check for abnormalities. Currently, a mammogram is the most accurate way to detect breast cancer even before they can even be seen or felt.
Monthly breast self-examination can improve your awareness of your own breasts and help notice any changes.
Step 1
Raise your arms.

Step 2
Lower your arms and press them firmly against your hips.

Step 3
Turn slowly from side to side and look for changes in
• Size or shape of breasts
• Nipples
• Appearance of skin

Step 4
Use small, circular movements to feel your armpits for lumps. Starting from the outside, feel around your breasts in circles. Feel the nipple.

Step 5
Finally, gentle squeeze your nipple to check for any bleeding or discharge.

Step 6
Lie down and repeat steps 4 and 5.

50 years and above:
Go for your mammogram screening once every two years unless your doctor advises otherwise.

In between your screening tests, make it a routine to do a breast self-examination every month, about a week after the start of your menstrual period. If you no longer menstruate, do a breast self-examination on a fixed date each month (e.g. first day of the month).

40 to 49 years old:
As breast tissues of younger women tend to be denser, abnormalities may not be visible on the mammogram.

Thus, consult your doctor about the benefits and limitations of going for a mammogram at this age. If you decide to go for a mammogram, it should be done once a year.

In between your screening tests, make it a routine to do a breast self-examination every month, about a week after the start of your menstrual period. If you no longer menstruate, do a breast self-examination on a fixed date each month (e.g. first day of the month).

30 to 39 years old:
If you are below the age of 40, mammograms are not recommended for you. However, you are encouraged to do a routine breast self-examination every month, about a week after the start of your menstrual period.
A mammogram costs $100 before GST at participating BreastScreen Singapore screening centres. With subsides from HPB, the test will cost (valid for Females only):
Eligible Singaporean Citizens
$50
Permanent Residents
$75
Merdeka Generation (MG)
$37.50
Pioneer Generation (PG)
$25
If you are 50 years old and above, you may use your Medisave or the Medisave of an immediate family member for your Mammogram at Medisave-approved centres, including participating centres under the Medisave500 scheme. You can use up to $500 per Medisave account a year under this scheme.

The full list of approved centres can be found on Page 29 of this PDF.
Am I eligible for the subsidy?

You are eligible for mammogram screening under the Screen for Life programme if you meet the following criteria:
1) You are a Singaporean or Permanent Resident

  • You are above the age of 50 years or
  • You are between the age of 40-49 and decide to go for your mammogram after you consulted your doctor

2) You currently do not have any of the breast symptoms below:

  • Painless lump
  • Persistent rash around nipple
  • Bleeding or unusual discharge from nipple
  • Swollen or thickened skin
  • Dented inwards or folded outwards skin
  • Retracted nipple

3) You have not gone for a screening mammogram

  • Within the past one year if you are between the age of 40 to 49 years and decide to go for a mammogram after you consulted your doctor
  • Within the past two years if you are above 50 years of age
  • You do not have any breast symptoms at the moment
    (for example lumps, bleed or discharge from the nipple, pain in the breast etc.)

Other subsidies available
If you have a valid Blue or Orange CHAS card, are aged 50 years and above, and have not gone for your mammogram in the last two years, there are also funding assistance programmes offered by non-government organisations to help you cope with the out-of-pocket cost of screening.

The programmes and the benefits are:
Learn more about mammogram screening at the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS). You can get mammogram screening at no cost at the SCS clinic at Bishan. Terms and conditions apply. Call 1800 727 3333 to make an appointment.
BEAM (Breast Cancer Foundation Encouragement for Active Mammogram) by the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF) provides funding assistance that covers the out-of-pocket cost of screening for you.

This programme is available at the participating screening centres listed in the table below.

To make an appointment for a mammogram screening, call the appointment hotline for the screening centre located nearest to you.

Mammogram screenings are also available onboard the Mammobus. Check the Mammobus Calendar and contact the event organiser to register (terms and conditions apply).

Schedule your appointment at least one week after the start of your menstrual period to lessen the pain and sensitivity of your breasts.

Call 6275 6443
Call 6536 6000
Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic

Bukit Batok Polyclinic

Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic

Clementi Polyclinic

Geylang Polyclinic

Hougang Polyclinic

Jurong Polyclinic

Pioneer Polyclinic

Toa Payoh Polyclinic

Woodlands Polyclinic

Yishun Polyclinic
You can also make a mammogram appointment here or through HealthHub

Bedok Polyclinic

Bukit Merah Polyclinic

Outram Polyclinic

Pasir Ris Polyclinic

Punggol Polyclinic

Tampines Polyclinic

Sengkang Polyclinic
(opening in late 2020)

Download our pamphlet about
Breast Cancer Screening:
Download our booklet about the
Screen for Life programme:
Get more information on breast cancer here:
Signs and symptoms of breast cancer

Video on breast cancer screening

Learn more about breast cancer


Frequently Asked Questions
No. Currently there is no evidence that regular mammogram screening of women under the age of 40 can detect early breast cancer. This is because the breast tissues in pre-menopausal women is denser, making mammograms very difficult to read.

However, if you notice any unusual breast lumps, pain or nipple discharge, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. If you think you have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, you should also seek advice from your doctor.
Women above the age of 50 usually have breast tissues that are less dense, making abnormal tissues easier to detect through a mammogram. If no abnormalities are detected, the chances of a cancer developing in between screens (two years) will be low (though still possible).

For women between the ages of 40 to 49, the breast tissues are denser and a mammogram may not be able to detect abnormal tissues as well. Therefore, women in this age range are recommended to screen more frequently, so any changes in the breast tissues in between screens (one year) can be better detected.

You should go for a mammogram once a year if you are aged 40-49 years old and once every two years if you are aged 50 years and above. As such, you should wait till you are due before going for your re-screen.
Yes, you can. As special X-ray techniques will be used, your screening will be done at designated hospitals. The same screening fees will apply.
Screen for Life – Breast Cancer Screening Programme is for women with no breast problems. Please continue to see your doctor. However, once you are no longer required to follow-up with your doctor for the breast problem, you may call the hotline of the screening centre to make an appointment for breast screening.
Yes. Even though you have a normal result for your latest screening test, you are still encouraged to go for your next screening test as changes to breast tissues can occur over time.
It is a good practice to do a breast self-examination every month. However, a mammogram is more sensitive and accurate in detecting changes in breast tissues even before they can be felt. Thus, we encourage you to continue with your regular self-examinations, and to go for your mammogram when you are due for it.
If you notice changes in your breasts, you are encouraged to see your doctor immediately instead of going for a screening test.
There is no medical report given after the mammogram. Your results will be posted to you in the form of a letter indicating whether your mammogram is normal or abnormal. Under the programme, you will be not be given any X-ray images at the end of the screening tests.

However, the images are stored in a secured system that’s accessible by the parties involved in the programme who can refer to them for your next screening test. If you wish to keep a copy of the images, you may request for it at a fee from the screening centre where you did your mammogram.
No. A mammogram is an X-ray examination of the breast. Like all X-rays, it may be harmful to the foetus, so it is not advisable to have a mammogram done during pregnancy.
It is advisable that you schedule your appointment at least 1 week after your menstrual period, when your breast is less tender and sensitive.
You need to wait at least 6 months after you stop breast-feeding before you can do your mammogram. This is because your breasts will be compressed during mammogram and the milk ducts in your breasts can lead to inaccurate results.
  • Schedule your test at least one week after your menstrual period, when your breasts are less tender and sensitive. This is to minimize discomfort during compression of the breasts.
  • On the day of the test, do not use or apply anything such as deodorant, perfume, powder or ointment in the underarm area or on your breasts as this may affect the X-ray.
  • Wear a comfortable two-piece outfit as you will need to undress to the waist.
For more tips visit: www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/1839/5-ways-to-psych-yourself-for-a-mammogram
You may experience a slight but brief discomfort (10 – 15 seconds for each breast). This is because the breasts will be compressed during the X-ray. Compression is necessary to keep the breast still to get the clearest picture. To help minimize the discomfort, you should schedule your test at least one week after your period when your breasts are less tender and sensitive.
The X-ray only takes 10 – 15 seconds and the whole mammogram procedure will take about 30 minutes.
Your results will be posted to you within 4 weeks after screening. If you still do not receive your results after 4 weeks, please call Screen for Life at 1800 223 1313 to enquire.
If you have an abnormal mammogram result, this does not mean that you have cancer. It means that the radiologist has noticed something abnormal in the breast tissues, and would need you to go for further tests that are available only at the hospital.

Think of this hospital follow-up check as any other test you may get at the polyclinic.
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Breast Cancer Screening Programme
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