Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The C Monsters against Women

Source: Today newspaper. 15 March 2011. Health section. by Evangeline Gan.

Being a woman has its pros and cons. One big "con" is that we are at risk of certain types of cancers. In Singapore, breast cancer takes the top spot, followed by gynaecological cancers like cervical, ovarian and endometrial cancer.

"Fortunately, these days, cancer is no longer a death sentence." According to  Dr Lim Soon Thye, council member of Singapore Cancer Society, "When detected early, there is a higher chance of a cure".

Here are some of the signs you should watch out for (direct quote from the newspaper) according to Dr Wong Chiung Ing (medical oncologist at The Cancer Centre) and Dr Chee Jng Jye (medical director of The Obstetrics and Gynaecology Centre):


Early-stage symptoms are often "vague", which is why more than half of ovarian cancer sufferers only find out about their illness at a later stage.

  • persistent indigestion
  • unexplained urinary urgency or frequency
  • persistent indigestion, difficulty eating or feeling full
  • abdominal bloating
  • increased abdominal size or girth
  • abdominal or pelvic pain
There is no routine screening for ovarian cancer, but check with your doctor if:
  • you have symptoms described above
  • you have a high-risk family history of breast, colon, ovarian or intestinal cancers.Certain inherited gene mutations associated with these cancers can put you at a higher risk of ovarian cancer.

  • bleeding after sex
  • abnormal vaginal bleeding such as in between menses or after menopause
  • blood-stained or foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • pelvic or lower back pain
Get regular PAP smears if you:
  • are aged 25 years above and have had sexual intercourse
  • have multiple sexual partners
  • have a high-risk sexual partner
  • have a history of sexually transmitted disease(s)

  • prolonged periods
  • intermenstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • more frequent vaginal bleeding or spotting during the years leading up to menopause
  • post-menopausal bleeding or bleeding after the the time of menopause
  • blood-stained, watery vaginal discharge
There is no routine screening for endometrial cancer, but check with your doctor if:
  • you have symptoms described above
  • you have risk factors that increase levels of oestrogen in the body such as long-term oestrogen-only replacement therapy, infrequent ovulation and obesity 
  • you have a personal history of breast or ovarian cancer
  • you have diabetes
  • you have not given birth before

  • breast lump
  • bloody or unusual nipple discharge
  • skin changes such as dimpling or puckering of the skin
  • persistent rash around the nipple
  • retracted nipple
  • breast pain
Get regular mammography screenings if you:
  • have a family history of breast cancer
  • are aged 40 and above

Get screened for FREE.
The Singapore Cancer Society offers free PAP Smears to women aged 25 years and above. For more information, call 6221 9578 or 6421 5809.

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