Article Detail

Early detection saves lives - Bringing cancer under control

Early detection saves lives - Bringing cancer under control

By Singapore Cancer Society


Cancer is the leading cause of death in Singapore, accounting for 29.6% of the total number of deaths in 2016.*

Certain cancers are preventable and many cancers are treatable and curable, especially with effective treatment in the early stages. Screening helps to detect early signs of cancer or pre-cancerous conditions before any symptoms appear. By the time symptoms appear, the disease is often at an advanced stage.

Screening is effective in the prevention and early detection of cancers such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, and colorectal cancer. There is a wide range of cancer screening services available. Singapore Cancer Society provides the following screenings at our SCS Clinic @ Bishan, without charge, throughout the year.

1.     Mammogram

Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer among women in Singapore. The mammogram is currently the most reliable screening tool for breast cancer. It can detect the presence of cancerous lumps even before they can be felt with the hand.

To encourage women in Singapore to start screening and stay up to date with their screening, Singapore Cancer Society runs a number of mammogram screening programmes. For women who possess a CHAS cards, and are aged 50 to 69 years old, SCS provides mammograms at no charge, to Singaporean women at the SCS Clinic @ Bishan. For women aged 40 to 69 years old and do not meet the criteria to screen at the SCS Clinic @ Bishan or under the SCS FIT 50 programme, they may consider screening under the Community Mammobus Programme or with the SCS $25 Funding Assistance. For more details, click here.

2.     Pap test

Cervical cancer is highly preventable and curable when detected and treated early through regular screening. The Pap test is the best screening tool available for the early detection of cervical cancer. An initial test should be performed once a woman is sexually active. Subsequent Pap test screening should be done at least once every 3 years thereafter. SCS has been providing Pap test at no cost since 1969. Cervical cancer is currently the tenth most commonly occurring cancer among women in Singapore.

3.     Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT)

Colorectal cancer is the leading cancer affecting both men and women in Singapore.

One sign and symptom of the presence of polyps is blood in the stool, which is often invisible to the naked eye. Other colorectal cancer indicators include, change in bowel habits, abdominal pain or discomfort, anaemia and presence of a lump in the abdomen.

Polyps, benign lumps that may form on the inner wall of the colon and rectum, are fairly common in people above the age of 50. These may develop into cancer and should be removed if detected.

Colorectal polyps and cancers can be detected by the traces of blood that are bled into the colon. The amount of bleeding can be virtually invisible to the naked eye. The Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT) is a preliminary test that detects the presence of small amounts of blood in faeces.

This test is available in a simple kit that can be carried out in the comfort of your own home. SCS distributes FIT kits, without charge, to eligible Singaporeans and Permanent Residents. The test is safe, easy to do, and should be done once a year.


Do you need help caring for an elderly at home? Download the Carer app (now available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store) and use it to hire an experienced nurse or care aide, or call us to find out more. You can also read more tips on the Carer app.

If you have specific topics you would like us to write about, please email us at

* Principal Causes of Death 2016, Ministry of Health


This article is contributed by Singapore Cancer Society.

Singapore Cancer Society Clinic @ Bishan is located @
9 Bishan Place Junction 8 Office Tower, 

#06-05, Singapore 579837 

Clinic operating hours: 
Mondays to Fridays, 9.00am to 6.00pm (last appointment at 5.15pm) 
Saturdays, 9.00am to 4.00pm (last appointment at 3.15pm)

To make an appointment, please contact us at 1800-727-3333