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Singapore researchers have discovered culprit genes

Researchers at the SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre have discovered the culprit genes that form fibroadenomas and cause them to advance.

“I think this is where it gets exciting, because when we find potential targets, they become potential targets for therapy,” said Dr Ong Kong Wee, head of SingHealth Duke-NUS Breast Centre. “Currently, beyond surgery for malignant phyllodes, really there is little else we can do.”

Excerpt from article published on Nov 6 2015 – The Straits Times

New Breast Cancer treatment cuts radiotherapy time

Breast cancer patients in the early stages of the disease who opt to keep their breasts may qualify for a new treatment that cuts six weeks of radiotherapy to one single session of up to 40 minutes. 

The new radiotherapy regime is only suitable for some early-stage breast cancer patients. The tumour size must be smaller than 3 cm in diameter, and the cancer should not have spread to the lymph nodes. Patients must also be above 50 years old. Other factors include how aggressive the tumour is, and the patient’s responsiveness to hormone treatment, said surgical oncologist Dr Ong Kong Wee.

Excerpt from article published on 26 Sep 2012, The Straits Times

Surgeon’s ‘map’ helps make breast cancer operation quicker and safer

A surgeon here has come up with a “map” that can reduce the risks and duration of a common early-stage breast cancer surgery. Dr Ong Kong Wee, head of Singhealth Duke-NUS Breast Centre, has identified the positions of sentinel lymph nodes within the patient’s armpit. 

Excerpt from article published on 15 Sep 2014, The Straits Times.

Over 80? It’s still safe to go for breast cancer surgery: Study

Lead researcher Ong Kong Wee explained that not all surgeons may give patients the option of surgery. 

“The results of this study are important as it dispels the misconception and fear among the public that breast cancer surgery for elderly patients is unsafe, or has a high complication rate,” said Dr Ong, a senior consultant in the centre’s surgical oncology division.

“Surgery is the most important modality of treatment in breast cancer. Elderly patients should not be deprived of such options.”

Excerpt from article published on 6 Sep 2014, The Straits Times.

Precise breast cancer surgery now available here

At the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), some women with early-stage breast cancer can have breast conserving surgery and radiotherapy in the same operation.

Radiation therapy is required after breast conserving surgery to lower the risk of cancer occurring again in the same breast. But it is usually administered after the operation, over four to six weeks.

Dr Ong Kong Wee, senior consultant at the department of surgical oncology at NCCS, said radiotherapy given during surgery, or intra-operative radiotherapy (IORT), is a new type of treatment.

He, together with consultant radiation oncologist Wong Fuh Yong, carried out the first IORT procedure in June last year at the centre.

Excerpt from article published on Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.

Removing healthy breast: More S’pore women opting for questionable move

Curious about the use of preventive mastectomy in an Asian population, Dr Ong and his surgical resident, Dr Sim Yi Rong, conducted a retrospective review of all patients who had breast cancer surgery from 2001 to 2010 at the cancer centre.

They found a three-fold increase in the number of women, over the time period, who chose to have their healthy breasts surgically removed.

Excerpt from article published on 6 Feb 2014, Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.