Pink Train to highlight breast cancer risks

Breast Cancer Foundation's (BCF) Paddlers in Pink dragon-boat members, with Senior Minister of State Sim Ann (centre) and BCF president Noor Quek (in black cardigan), taking a wefie at the launch of the Pink Train yesterday. The train features the me
Breast Cancer Foundation's (BCF) Paddlers in Pink dragon-boat members, with Senior Minister of State Sim Ann (centre) and BCF president Noor Quek (in black cardigan), taking a wefie at the launch of the Pink Train yesterday. The train features the message "Every Woman Matters".PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Initiative rolled out to spread awareness in Oct which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The next time you take the Downtown Line, there is a chance you might board the Pink Train.

The special train, which has the interiors of its cabins decked out in pink to raise awareness about breast cancer, started running yesterday and will do so until the end of next month. It offers information on the risk factors for breast cancer, to encourage women to get screened for the condition early.

First launched in 2016, the Pink Train is an initiative to spread awareness of breast cancer here during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Yesterday, the Pink Train - which features the message "Every Woman Matters" - was launched at the Bukit Panjang MRT station.

"The Pink Train is a reminder that all of us have a role to play in the fight against breast cancer, which affects not just women but also the people around us," said Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Communications and Information, at the launch.

There are also wall murals displaying facts on breast cancer, screening options and funding assistance at Dhoby Ghaut and Serangoon MRT stations as well as bus interchanges in Bedok and Boon Lay. The campaign is expected to reach an estimated 34 million commuters. The initiative is a collaboration between non-profit organisation Breast Cancer Foundation (BCF), Land Transport Authority and ComfortDelGro's advertising arm Moove Media.

Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women here. It accounted for almost one in three cancer cases among women from 2011 to 2015, based on the Singapore Cancer Registry's annual report for 2015. It is more common in women aged 40 and above and the risk increases with age.

However, less than 40 per cent of women aged between 50 and 69 underwent a mammogram to screen for breast cancer, noted Health Promotion Board's Health Behaviour Surveillance of Singapore 2015.

BCF president Noor Quek said the information in the train highlights the steps the public should take as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Ms Katherine Goh, 49, a retired deputy director of the Civil Service College, experienced for herself the advantage of early detection.

An annual ultrasound 10 years ago showed she had Stage 1 breast cancer, which is now under control after she underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy for her right breast. Ms Goh, whose mother died of breast cancer, does breast self-examinations regularly and goes for a mammogram yearly.

"I truly believe that early detection can save lives and breasts," said Ms Goh, who has been volunteering with BCF since 2009. "I think it's important for women to be more vigilant in their checks."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2018, with the headline 'Pink Train to highlight breast cancer risks'. Print Edition | Subscribe