Launches with the theme ‘Every Woman Matters’

  • The month of October will highlight that breast cancer can happen to any woman while reinforcing the importance of early detection
  • BCF unveils Young Women’s Network to help achieve better outcomes for women around breast cancer
  • This year will also shine a spotlight on the lesser-known role of men, healthcare organizations, communities and corporations in supporting a woman’s fight against breast cancer

breast cancer awareness month

October is recognized worldwide as Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). Each year, BCAM’s organising committee, comprising of Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), Health Promotion Board (HPB), National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), National University Cancer Institute Singapore (NCIS) and Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), will organise a series of events and activities to raise awareness for breast cancer. Through BCAM, the organizing committee aims to spread the message that early detection of the condition can save lives, breasts and families.

BCF, a non-profit organization with the mission to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening condition, and chair to this year’s BCAM organizing committee, hosted a press conference today at Singapore Sports Hub (Official Venue Partner) together with BCAM organizing committee members. The press conference is a soft-launch of the upcoming BCAM in October with this year’s theme, ‘Every Woman Matters’, unveiled alongside breast cancer survivors, caregivers, corporate partners, and volunteers.

The official launch of BCAM will take place at BCF’s signature event, Pink Ribbon Walk, on 6 October 2018, and will be officiated by BCF’s new patron, Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Education.

Every Woman Matters
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women in Singapore. Based on the latest cancer registry report released in 2017, it was estimated that 1 in 14 women in Singapore will develop the condition before the age of 751. Despite the prevalence of the condition, less than 40% of eligible women in Singapore have participated in crucial screening mammogram2. These findings signify that breast cancer can happen to anyone, and every woman matters in the fight against it.

With the theme “Every Woman Matters”, BCAM 2018 Organising Committee aims to portray the important truth that it could happen to any woman, while also encouraging all women to take necessary early detection measures to tackle the condition across all age groups. Mrs Noor Quek, President, Breast Cancer Foundation added as well in her speech, “So ladies, go do it. You won’t regret it.” The campaign will also go by #EveryWomanMatters to spread the word on social media.

This year’s BCAM campaign is also supported by the insights from BCF’s nationwide Situation and Needs Assessment Survey conducted in 20173, which revealed that 27% of the women surveyed either conducted breast self-examinations nor participated in medical checks, although 90% of survey participants perceived breast cancer to be dangerous, with many recognising the importance of breast checks. In line with this, a television commercial (TVC) will be rolled- out nation-wide in partnership with creative partner, DDB Group Singapore and supported by Mediacorp Cares. The TVC will feature cast in their 20s to 80s from all walks of life who are breast cancer survivors, caregivers and volunteers of BCF to raise awareness about the condition.

BCF’s Young Women’s Network
As part of the next steps following BCF’s Situation and Needs Assessment Survey in 2017, Young women’s Network (YWN) was launched by BCF to meet the evolving needs and challenges facing a younger demographic of women battling breast cancer. A first of its kind in Singapore, YWN aims to engage and support women aged 44 and below who are newly diagnosed with the condition. It is an extension to BCF’s existing support group programme to provide an understanding and caring environment conducive for young women who are affected by breast cancer – through a peer-to-peer model via digital platforms such as social media and mobile devices. With YWN, BCF hopes to reach 19.1% of the total number of breast cancer incidences in Singapore where women aged 44 and below are diagnosed4.

1 Statistics from the National Registry of Disease Office
2 Source: Statistic from the Health Promotion Board
3 1,005 women and 980 men took part in this survey conducted by BCF in partnership with Blackbox Research Pte Ltd in 2017
4 Singapore Cancer Registry, Annual Registry Report 2015

Men and Corporations Joining the Fight
Beyond detection, this year’s BCAM also seeks to highlight the often-overlooked role of men and corporations. When a woman is down with breast cancer, everyone in her life is affected, including her husband, son, father, employers and colleagues. In conjunction with this, BCF launched Wear The Pink Ribbon (WTPR) Campaign this year with a special edition Pink Ribbon Pin designed by DDB Group Singapore, as a symbol of solidarity – that #EveryWomanMatters, as well as every man and corporation standing in support for them. The campaign will also encourage social media users to wear the pin and share about it with #WearThePinkRibbon2018.

Wearing the Pink Ribbon Pin represents the act of pledging support and hope for women who are diagnosed, or living with breast cancer. This also includes men, who should encourage the women in their lives to go for regular breast screenings and/or be the pillar of strength to their female loved ones who are diagnosed with the condition. Corporations can also promote good breast health practices by advocating for early detection through empowering women in the workplace to adopt breast cancer screening as part of their regular health routine. Workplace support for those undergoing treatment, including the compassionate understanding of their medical situations, as well as being knowledgeable about the topic of breast cancer, are crucial too.

Ms Teena Pisarev, CEO, Icon SOC, sponsor of WTPR Campaign, added, “Breast cancer is the number one cancer among women in Singapore. As one of the largest cancer care providers on the island, Icon SOC is proud to be involved in BCF’s Wear the Pink Ribbon Campaign. To be supporting an activity that raises awareness and funds for the many women who receive treatment, not only in our clinics, but across Singapore every year is a privilege,” said Teena Pisarev, Icon SOC CEO. “We encourage other corporate organisations to join us in ensuring strong support and services for those facing one of the toughest battles of their lives.”

BEAM15 Phase II
Women in Singapore are encouraged to take up the fully paid-for screening mammogram under the Breast Cancer Foundation Encouragement for Active Mammograms (BEAM15) Phase II, an initiative by Breast Cancer Foundation, in collaboration with Health Promotion Board. The screening, which is offered at mammogram centres under the Screen for Life programme, will benefit women between the ages of 50 and 69 years, who have a valid Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) card and who have never had a screening mammogram before or whose most recent screening mammogram was more than two years ago.

Community Mammobus Programme
Breast Cancer Foundation will also continue to champion the Community Mammobus Programme (CMP) in October, launched together with Singapore Cancer Society and National Healthcare Group Diagnostics. The initiative brings to life the important message of early detection through providing funding assistance by making screening mammograms at no charge to first-time Singaporean screeners exclusively on the Mammobus. A nominal fee for women who are not firsttime participants applies. This is deployed to various locations across Singapore throughout the year as well.

For more information, please visit here

Screen for Life Programme
To further encourage women to go for a screening mammogram, Health Promotion Board has made screening affordable and accessible through Screen for Life’s BreastScreen Singapore (BSS) programme. Under the BSS programme, asymptomatic women who are Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents, 50 years and above, and who have not had a screening mammogram in the last two years, are encouraged to go for screening mammogram which is subsidised at participating mammogram centres under Screen for Life.

SCS FIT50 Programme
Under the Singapore Cancer Society FIT50 programme, eligible women in Singapore who turn 50 years old will benefit from fully paid-for screening mammograms at the mammogram centres under HPB’s Screen for Life.

SCS $25 Funding Assistance for Mammogram Screening
For women who are not eligible for the BEAM15 Phase II, SCS will provide funding assistance of $25 towards their screening mammogram. To enjoy the funding assistance, eligible women are advised to make their appointments at participating breast screening centres by 30 November 2018 and have their screening mammogram done by 31 January 2019.

A total of 53 breast screening centres that include polyclinics and private screening centres are participating in this programme.

For a full listing of the clinics, please visit here

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