A Commentary on Delayed Presentation of Breast Cancer in Singapore


Breast cancer is the most common cancer in Singaporean women and the rate of increase in incidence is one of the highest in the world. In view of the significant contribution of delayed presentation to the disease burden in South East Asia, we reviewed the incidence of late presentation of breast cancer and the contributing factors in Singapore. Disease presentation was analysed using studies based on the Singapore Cancer Registry 2004- 2008 and with data from women with breast cancer at the National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore 1990-2007. Available literature from Singapore on factors contributing to delayed presentation was reviewed and presented here. The overall age-standardized 5-year relative survival for Singaporean women was 70% with only half diagnosed with localized cancer. Of all women diagnosed at NUH close to 20% presented at Stages III and IV. Given the magnitude of the problem of women presenting with more advanced stages of breast cancer,the National University of Singapore has joined a collaborative team with the University of Leeds (UK), the University of Malaya, and University of UAE to set up the UK-SEA-ME Psychosocial-Cultural Cancer Research Network to better understand late presentation.