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Breast Service

The Sengkang General Hospital Breast Service is a key member of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Breast Centre, the largest centre in Singapore treating the full spectrum of breast conditions. The SKH Breast Service provides comprehensive, compassionate care for patients with benign breast conditions and all stages of breast cancer. We take pride in offering latest surgical techniques, including the latest Minimally-invasive, Oncoplastic, Reconstructive and Symmetrizing surgical techniques.

Our approach is to be as minimally invasive as possible, both in diagnosing and in treating breast cancer. We plan multimodal treatment approaches, to surgically save as much healthy breast tissue when desired with oncologic safety, restore femininity and preserve quality of life. Patients will receive care from a multidisciplinary team of breast surgeons, plastics and reconstructive surgeons, radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, specialist breast care nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists. Every case of breast cancer is discussed at a weekly multidisciplinary meeting on diagnosis and after surgical management to ensure patients are offered and receive the best treatment. Treatment is individualized to each patient’s cancer biology (subtype), stage (0 to 4), morphology (form), and personal preference (for the complete spectrum, see Treatments Offered). Our patients have full access to warm, supportive care from the team of experts throughout their duration of treatment and surveillance. Our team will communicate findings, plans and outcomes with you and your referring doctor, and reach out often to review your progress and concerns. We value clear communication and seamless coordination of care. The SKH breast centre works in unison with the aim of achieving the best outcomes for all our patients.

Our Clinical Specialties and Services

We work closely in a multidisciplinary team to provide a full range of integrated breast services and programmes:

  • Breast cancer risk assessment and screening
  • Benign breast clinic (see Treatments Offered)
  • Breast cancer diagnostics and management (see Treatments Offered)
  • Breast diagnostic services, including breast imaging and minimally invasive image-guided biopsy (see Treatments Offered)
  • Minor breast surgery (see Treatments Offered)
  • Minimally invasive breast surgery (see Treatments Offered)
  • Breast cancer surgery (see Treatments Offered)
  • Breast reconstruction (see Treatments Offered)
  • Tumour Genomic testing
  • Medical Oncology (in partnership with NCCS@SKH), including our Pre-operative (neoadjuvant) therapy programme
  • Radiation Oncology (in partnership with NCCS and SGH), including Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT)
  • Genetic counselling (partnership with NCCS)
  • Gynaecological and fertility counselling (partnership with SGH and KKH)
  • Breast care nurse (BCN) services for peri-operative care, post-operative care, psychosocial support and survivorship
  • Peri- and Post-operative occupational and physiotherapy
  • Lymphoedema care
  • Medical social worker (MSW) services
  • Patient education and breast self-examination training
  • Breast cancer survivorship
  • SHS Blossoms Support Group

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Conditions We Treat

At Sengkang General Hospital, our breast team treats a comprehensive range of conditions including:

  • Benign breast changes and symptoms, including
    • Mastalgia (breast pain)
    • Breast calcification(s)
    • Breast nodule(s)
    • Breast cyst(s)
    • Fibrocystic change (FCC)

Treatments Offered

We believe that each condition should be treated in an individualised manner as there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Every patient that comes through our door is unique and requires treatment that takes into account their specific condition, medical history and personal preferences. Hence, we offer a broad range of breast treatments tailored to every individual, ensuring that the care they receive is thorough, and suited to their needs. Some of the breast treatments we offer include:

  • Breast clinical assessment
  • Breast radiological evaluation
    • Digital mammography and, 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis)
    • Ultrasonography of the breast
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast
  • Breast interventional services

FAQs

Is a mammogram the best way to detect breast cancer?

For the asymptomatic (well) patient with an average risk of developing breast cancer, breast self-examination and regular mammography is the best and most cost-effective breast cancer screening approach available to date. In employing breast x-ray images to spot unusual changes, abnormalities, or tumours in breast tissue before you can even see or feel it, mammograms can screen for and detect high risk lesions, pre-invasive carcinoma or early-stage non-palpable cancers that allow us to execute preventative measures, or early and often more simplified treatment options. Hence, screening mammograms play a central role in early detection and have been demonstrated to lower breast cancer mortality. For women with dense breasts, additional mammographic views such as spot compression and magnification views or 3D- mammograms (tomosynthesis) may be used. Breast ultrasound is sometimes used as an adjunct to complement your mammogram, although best evidence indicates an increased rate of detection for incidental benign lesions. The utility of an adjunct screening ultrasound should be carefully discussed with your breast specialist.

For the symptomatic patient (with a specific concern or complaint), combination breast imaging is more frequently utilized for diagnostic purposes. This may include mammography, breast ultrasonography, and breast magnetic resonance imaging when required. When suspicious lesions are detected, breast biopsies or interventions are sometimes required for complete diagnosis and/or treatment.

How often should breast screening be done?

In Singapore, we recommend screening mammography for women of average risk for breast cancer from the age of 50, to be done every 2 years.

Women aged 40-49 years old are encouraged to discuss with their doctors about the risks and benefits of screening mammograms. For this group of relatively younger women, breast tissue are usually more dense and therefore possibly challenging to interpret, hence the mammograms may be done yearly.

For young women who have been established to be of high risk for breast cancer or any individual who has been diagnosed with a high risk genetic mutation, consult your breast specialist for an ideal screening regime, which may include the addition of breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

What causes breast infection?

Breast inflammation and/or infection, also known as Mastitis, is usually caused by inflammation and/or infection of the milk ducts, and is most prevalent among breastfeeding women. Superimposed infection is most commonly caused by skin organisms. A breast abscess may develop if there are collections of pus. This may require antibiotics, in combination with needle or surgical drainage. Mastitis or breast abscesses that are not adequately treated can lead to a series of complications, so it’s important to seek timely treatment from your breast specialist.

Am I at risk of breast cancer?

Everyone is at risk of breast cancer, while some are at a higher risk than others. Below are the known risk factors for breast cancer:

Increasing age (50 years or older)
Family history of breast cancer
Genetic syndromes including BRCA1 and BRCA2
History of high risk breast lesions
Early-onset of menstruation
Late menopause
Having had fewer or no children
Pregnancy after age 30
Being on estrogen-only hormone replacement therapy
Sedentary lifestyle and alcohol consumption
Obesity after menopause

 

Our Care Team

Patients have full access to warm, supportive care from the SKH Breast Centre throughout their duration of treatment. The team will work together in unison to achieve seamless and best outcome for patients. They will go the extra mile to ensure all conditions are accurately diagnosed and managed with evidence-based opinions and a precise treatment strategy.

When diagnosed, the path through breast cancer care is different for everyone. SKH has a multidisciplinary team of experienced breast care specialists dedicated to fulfilling our patients’ unique needs, including breast surgeons, radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, plastics and reconstructive surgeons, specialist breast care nurses, occupational and physiotherapists. We have a comprehensive and tailored clinical care, all for you.

 

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