Opening Address by Ms Indranee Rajah, Second Minister for Finance, at the Official Opening of Singapore's First Breast Cancer Centre by Breast Cancer Foundation on 20 January 2022, at Thomson Sin Ming Healthy Lifestyle Hub20 Jan 2022
President Halimah Yacob,
Parliamentary Secretary Mdm Rahayu Mahzam,
Grassroot Advisor Mr Chong Kee Hiong,
Breast Cancer Foundation President Ms Staphnie Tang,
Donors, Sponsors, Distinguished guests
The opening of the Breast Cancer Centre today marks a significant milestone. We are happy to have many of the Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF)’s founding members here with us today, to mark this significant milestone in the foundation’s 25-year journey.
The Breast Cancer Foundation over the past 25 years
2. With the global rise in the incidence rate of breast cancer, spreading the word about early detection of breast cancer has become even more important than ever. In Singapore, breast cancer has been the leading cancer among females over the last 50 years and the incidence of this disease is rising. Between 2014 and 2018, an average of approximately six new cases were diagnosed in Singapore daily. In February last year, the World Health Organisation reported that breast cancer overtook lung cancer as the most commonly-diagnosed cancer worldwide. These trends underscore the importance of the work done by the BCF in breast cancer support in Singapore.
3. The BCF has been advocating early detection of breast cancer and supporting the breast cancer community in Singapore. In the past three years as Patron of BCF, I have witnessed first-hand the positive impact of its initiatives to improve awareness, and provide an effective social support system to help breast cancer patients reintegrate back into the workplace and in the community.
a. One example is BCF’s public education campaigns on breast cancer awareness. These campaigns help to highlight the importance of regular screenings and breast self-examination.
b. BCF also offers members a comprehensive suite of services, such as 1-to-1 befriending programme, support groups for breast cancer patients and caregivers, and Healing Through The Arts programme which includes physical- and art-based activities. For women from low-income families, BCF also subsidises their mammogram screenings.
c. BCF continues to explore new initiatives to help save lives through education and early detection, and support the survivors to overcome the disease, take charge of their health and lead full and happy lives.
4. The new Breast Cancer Centre will reinforce BCF’s efforts in supporting the breast cancer community. The Centre provides a safe space for breast cancer patients and survivors seeking psycho-social, emotional, and rehabilitative support – where they can care for and encourage one another.
5. The design and set-up of the Centre, centred on the theme of “A Journey of Hope and Joyful Living”, encourages members to come together, socialise, share their experiences, and support one another. The vibrant colours and greenery in the Centre are imbued with positivity and represent the fighting spirit of our breast cancer warriors.
6. We warmly welcome and encourage everyone to visit the Centre and join its public education talks, to learn more about breast cancer.
Breast Cancer Foundation’s initiatives in 2022
7. 2022 marks BCF’s 25th anniversary. This year, BCF hopes to encourage as many eligible women as possible to go for their mammogram screening. Through early detection and treatment, the survival rate of breast cancer patients can be significantly increased, thereby eradicating breast cancer as a life-threatening disease.
8. While breast cancer screening rates reported by the National Population Health Survey have increased from 30.9% in 2017 to 37.9% in 2020, there is still much room for improvement.
a. BCF is partnering the Health Promotion Board to launch the BCF First Screen Fund Programme. This programme aims to increase access to the first mammogram screening for women aged 50 years and above from low-income families. It supplements the Screen for Life programme, where eligible Singaporean women can be screened for breast cancer at a highly subsidised rate.
b. In addition, we will have the Community Mammobus Programme throughout the year. The Mammobus will be parked in the vicinity of the Breast Cancer Centre to provide affordable mammogram screenings. For those who sign up for screenings on the Mammobus, the screening fees will be co-funded by BCF.
10. In closing, I would like to congratulate BCF on the opening of the Breast Cancer Centre, and the good work done serving the breast cancer community and their caregivers. I look forward to many more decades of your good service to the community, and walking this journey with you. Thank you for your support, Madam President. For everyone here, it is greatly appreciated. Thank you very much.