SINGAPORE - To drive home the importance of raising awareness of breast cancer, 33 women bikers rode around the island in pink shirts, setting a record in the process.
The 21st Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) was launched on Saturday (Sept 30) with a first Pink Ribbon Parade, organised by Singapore Cancer Society. It involved 33 women volunteer motorcycle riders who travelled 31km around the island, starting from Our Tampines Hub in the morning and ending about six hours later at Toa Payoh Hub.
They set the Singapore record for the Largest Women's Bike Ride.
Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Josephine Teo was the guest-of-honour at the Pink Ribbon Launch Party at the hub. She arrived after the bikers in a trolley bus.
Mrs Teo said: "Even though BCAM has been going on for so many years, we still notice that about 30 per cent of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are already at stage three and four.
"I think this effort of continuing to emphasise awareness as well as screening has to be kept up, we can't assume that people already know about it."
Mrs Teo also said that National Healthcare Group Diagnostic (NHGD) will be giving a new subsidy of $10 for women doing mammograms for the first time.
A Singaporean woman between 40 and 69 years old who is going for her first mammogram next year may end up paying only $15 for a screening on the NHGD mammogram bus. It costs $40 for permanent residents. A mammogram usually costs around $100 at a polyclinic.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which falls on October every year, focuses on early detection and treatment of breast cancer through a series of activities, including educational exhibitions, games and mammogram screening, which is the most reliable screening tool for detecting breast cancer.
Dr Yap Yoon Sim, chairman of this year's BCAM organising committee, said: "This year, we aim to encourage more women who are 50 years and older to go for a mammogram every two years."
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Singapore. It is estimated that one in 14 women before the age of 75 will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
In Singapore, only two in five (38.6 per cent) women aged 50 to 69 have gone for a mammogram in the past two years, compared with three in four (75 per cent) women aged 50 to 70 years who were screened in the last three years in England.