Wednesday, September 28, 2011

EastCoastLife's Mammotome Breast Biopsy

Estee Lauder Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign

On 7 December 2010, I went for my first mammogram at HPB. 2 weeks later, I was advised to go for an advanced breast screening as a suspicious lump was found in my left breast.

On 19 January 2011, I consulted Oncologist, Dr Ong Kong Wee at National Cancer Centre who quickly scheduled a Mammotome Breast Biopsy on 24 January.

On EastCoastLife Goes For A Mammogram
EastCoastLife Goes to National Cancer Centre (Singapore) for Advanced Breast Screening

Before my surgery, I had to go for financial counselling at National Cancer Centre's Listing Room,
I was advised on my estimated cost of hospitalisation that will be incurred during my stay in the hospital. Please refer to the Pre-Admission procedure

I also undergo compulsory pre admission investigations such as blood tests, chest x-ray, electrocardiogram, which are usually conducted one week before admission.

On the morning of surgery, I first reported to Admission Centre at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). I changed into a gown and was driven in an ambulance to National Cancer Centre (NCC) for the breast hookwire localisation.

Hookwire localisation assists a surgeon in the removal of breast abnormalities that cannot be felt. It marks where the abnormal tissue is located and enables the surgeon to remove the smallest amount of abnormal tissue identified on mammograms, ultrasound or MRI scans. As only the abnormal tissue is removed (with a margin of clear tissue around it), scarring can be minimised and the shape of the breast can be preserved as far as possible.

At NCC, I had to lie facedown on a special table. My left breast protruded through a hole in the table's surface where it was lightly compressed and immobilized while a computer produced detailed images of the abnormality. I was given a local anaesthetic (injection) to to numb the area where the hookwire was to be inserted.

The radiologist placed a very fine needle into my left breast. Once the needle was in the correct position, a fine wire was passed down the centre of the needle and the needle was removed leaving the wire in place. The MRI scanner produced pictures to show the surgeon where the tip of the wire lies in relation to the abnormality that was to be removed.

NCC was within walking distance of SGH but to prevent too much movement which would cause the hookwire to be dislodged, I was transported to and fro by ambulance.

waiting for my hookwire localisation

I was wheeled into the surgical room around 1pm. Because I had a bad experience with my previous surgery - terrible vomitting after the anaesthesia wore off - the anaesthetist kindly solved that. I was fine after my biopsy. :)

I was sent back to my ward to rest. Both my husband and I were touched when Dr Ong Kong Wee came to check on me after finishing his clinic work around 6pm. I was informed he removed a cluster of microcalcifications from my left breast. 

I was discharged the next day and given an appointment to see Dr Ong on 30 March.

I am glad to announce that Dr Ong has given me a clean bill of health. Yeah!!

Mammography is important. Take the necessary step .... 
make an appointment for one now.

For more information on breast health or BreastScreen Singapore, please call 1800 333 3030.


  1. The most important is that you are in the pink of health now. Thanks for the reminder..I better go and check especially when I had an ops done many years ago.

  2. Ouch. Sorry to hear that, but glad you had a clean bill of health after all the scare. Stay strong :-D

  3. This is a good reminder for me to do a full check-up soon. :)

  4. I am so pleased for you that everything went well. Medical procedures are not only worrying in their own right but the underlying worry of the result is always dancing around somewhere in the brain - hoping that all will be well.

    There has been exciting news in the British press recently regarding the Autumn crocus and its properties for shrinking cancers by effectively starving them. This may be of interest to some of your readers - I have found a page produced by the BBC which gives an impartial over view about using this treatment:

    You are a lovely lady who is very brave to describe all of your treatment so very thoroughly.

    Take care, x

  5. I am very happy for you and hope that you are feeling well. Blessings, Catherine

  6. this post is a good reminder to all of us, women. thanks.

  7. Denesa,
    It's important for the ladies to have breast screening done regularly.

    I am glad I did because early detection helped me to conquer this disease. :)

  8. Pu Niao,
    It was a shock but I'm glad it wasn't malignant. I am having a review with Dr Ong next March. :)

  9. Lina,
    Please make an appointment for a breast screening. Don't play play. :P

  10. My dear Polly,
    Thanks so much for your comforting words.

    I am checking up on this Autumn crocus. Thanks for the info.

    I am doing my part to promote awareness of breast cancer and to help my fellow sisters. :)

  11. Catherine,
    Thank you so much. I am feeling great and am counting my blessings. :)

  12. wendy,
    Have you make an appointment for breast screening? :P

  13. Awareness, is very important. The outreach to the younger age group may be easier, as they would be more exposed to the new media.

    I was at one of the polyclinic,for some x-ray and encountered an elderly lady, maybe in the 60s, she received the letter, asking her to visit national Cancer Centre (NCC) for advanced breast screening.

    She maybe illiterate, the nurse at the counter is a Malay, her colleagues were busy, I helped, telling her that an appointment was required for advanced breast screening.

    Upon hearing NCC,she looked depress, (but with my wife's experience), I console her that, 8 out of 9 that go for that screening would have negative result. She looked relieved and make the appointment with the nurse assistance.