Monday, March 18, 2013

SINGAPORE-6,000 women to receive free mammograms

The two-year programme, offered to women aged 50 and above, will see 3,000 women getting screened for the first time. The remaining half would have been screened before and would be due for another mammogram.

The programme, known as BCF Encouragement for Active Mammograms (BEAM 15), is aimed at getting women from the lower-income group to go for regular breast cancer screening and not let cost be a deterrent.

A mammogram costs S$50 at a polyclinic, but the National Health Survey in 2010 found that women from lower-income households are less likely to go for cancer screening, with cost often cited as a reason.

“All the money they have is spent on food and taking care of the family,” said Mrs Noor Quek, President of the Breast Cancer Foundation. “And when they get older and illness is setting in, they may not also have the financial means. S$50 is a lot of money to many people and this is why we feel it is good to reach out to them — many of them don’t work.”

Some S$300,000 has been set aside for the programme, which marks the first time the foundation is using its funds to offer free mammograms.

The HPB will also be expanding its coverage of its mobile screening centre, the Mammobus, to more locations to encourage more women to come forward for breast screening.