In western societies young women with breast cancer only accounts for 4-7% of the population, compared to as high as 14% in Asian populations. In an annual National Registry of Disease Office report from 2015, 19% of breast cancers in Singapore were women aged 44 years and under. There are many cancers that are increasingly affecting young women in Singapore, including gynaecological and colorectal cancers. On top of a cancer diagnosis, these young women are often facing unique challenges during this pivotal time in their lives from family concerns to career progression, body image and societal expectations. At Icon Cancer Centre, we have developed this program to give support to young women.
Young Women’s Cancer Program
Icon Cancer Centre is here to support young women from cancer diagnosis, through to treatment and beyond
Young women's cancer in Singapore
From family, career and societal expectations, it is important to be able to support young women through their cancer treatment by recognising and addressing their individual concerns.
The Young Women’s Cancer Program at Icon is designed to address these challenges and support women and their loved ones during a difficult time in their lives. The program has been developed by Icon Medical Oncologist and Program Director, Dr Lee Guek Eng who is passionate about the ongoing improvement of cancer treatment and supporting women of all ages through their cancer journey.
Through one seamless program we connect women with the right support and multidisciplinary approach to care at each stage of their treatment. We focus on the challenges young women face from medical considerations such as fertility and genetic testing to psychosocial support and financial counselling, giving patients comfort and convenience to receive all the care they need at this stage in their life.
We aim to empower young women throughout their cancer journey, by equipping them with knowledge through education and raising awareness, connecting them with specialists and building relationships with other cancer survivors. This bespoke Young Women’s Cancer Program uses a step by step approach to help women navigate their individual cancer journey and overcome the unique and challenging obstacles they face.
Your Icon Oncologist will work through the concerns of each individual patient following a step by step approach personalised to each young female and their challenges.
Diagnosis and treatment
- Your Oncologist will provide a diagnosis and address any initial concerns and explain treatment options
- At this stage, some patients may also be referred to a surgeon to discuss surgical options
- If relevant, your Oncologist will discuss fertility preservation options
- A referral to a fertility specialist will be provided to discuss preservation options further (e.g. ovarian preservation, oocyte or embryo cryopreservation)
- Patients may proceed to consult with a Fertility Specialist to undergo procedures before commencing cancer treatment
Genetic counselling and testing
- If relevant, your Oncologist will discuss the risk of hereditary cancer and options of genetic counselling and/or testing
- Genetic testing can be carried out in-house and detailed consultation and recommendations will be advised
Psychosocial counselling and peer support
- Your Oncologist will provide referrals to relevant counselling services and help connect you to young cancer survivors who have had similar experiences.
- Referrals to medical social workers and other public assistance finds for financial support may also be arranged for Singapore citizens/ PRs.
- Patients will also have access to relevant education and peer support where required.
- These services are also available to caregivers, families and spouses of patients
“I am passionate about ensuring my patients receive personalised care and play an active role in their care. A cancer diagnosis is often an emotional time in someone’s life. Young women already have to navigate a multitude of factors from balancing family and work, to pressures of body image, financial concerns and social commitments. When you add in a cancer diagnosis it can often become too much for patients, so it is important to maintain a strong support network.”
– Dr Lee Guek Eng
Program Director – Young Women’s Cancer Program
For more information on Dr Lee and her commitment to young women’s cancer, click here for a short Q&A.
To learn more about our team of doctors dedicated to providing the best care possible click here.