Dr Tan Yia Swam
Breast & General Surgeon
Education & Fellowship
MBBS (Singapore), M.Med (Surgery), MRCS (Edin), FAMS (Surgery)
Dr Tan Yia Swam graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the National University of Singapore in 2004. She completed her surgical training in General Surgery in 2014, having obtained the qualifications of MRCS (Edin) and M.Med (Surgery) along the way.
She was admitted as a Fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, in 2019.
- MBBS (Singapore) 2004
- MRCS (Edin) 2007
- Med (Surgery) 2008
- FRCS 2014
- FAMS (Surgery) 2019
Research and Publications
- A right renal angiomyolipoma with IVC thrombus and pulmonary embolism. Tan YS, Yip KH, Tan PH, Cheng WS. International Urology and Nephrology, 16 Jul 2009, 42(2):305-308
- Synovial sarcoma of the kidney: a report of 4 cases with pathologic appraisal and differential diagnostic review. Tan YS, Ng LG, Yip SK, Tay MH, Lim AS, Tien SL, Cheng L, Tan PH. Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 2010 Aug;32(4):239-45.
- Outcome after neoadjuvant chemotherapy in Asian breast cancer patients. Lim LY, Miao H, Lim JS, Lee SC, Bhoo-Pathy N, Yip CH, Taib NA, Chan P, Tan EY, Lim SH, Lim GH, Woo E, Tan YS, Lee JA, Wong M, Tan PH, Ong KW, Wong FY, Yap YS, Hartman M. Cancer Med. 2017 Jan;6(1):173-185.
- Initial results of a novel technique of clipped node localization in breast cancer patients postneoadjuvant chemotherapy: Skin Mark clipped Axillary nodes Removal Technique (SMART trial). Lim GH, Teo SY, Gudi M, Ng RP, Pang J, Tan YS, Lee YS, Allen JC Jr, Leong LCH. Cancer Med. 2020 Mar;9(6):1978-1985.
- A survey on the impact of COVID-19 on incomes and practice patterns of private-sector physicians in Singapore. Wong CY, Wong MYZ, Tan TL, Tan YS. Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2021 Apr;50(4):336-338.
- Growth and leadership amid a pandemic. Tan YS. Singapore Med J. 2020 Aug;61(8):395
Accolades and Achievements
- “Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence” from the NUS YLL School of Medicine (2014)
- KK “Service from the Heart Award” (2016)
- Gold Award in “Singapore Health Quality Service” (2018)
Dr Tan Yia Swam is an accredited general surgeon with a special interest in Breast Surgery. Her experience encompasses a wide range of breast conditions such as lumps, pain, nipple discharge, cancers, management of abnormal imaging. Dr Tan firmly believes in personalized treatment recommendations that respect patients’ needs and concerns.
Prior to private practice, Dr Tan has looked after patients in Singapore General Hospital, National University Hospital and Tan Tock Seng Hospital during her training years. She developed her consultancy practice at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, in the Department of Breast Surgery. Over the years of breast specialisation, Dr Tan has developed a strong network in multidisciplinary care, with breast radiologists, breast histopathologists, medical and radiation oncologists, as well as allied health professionals, to deliver the best model of breast care for her patients.
As recognition for her patient-centric care, Dr Tan has received the KK “Service from the Heart Award” in 2016 as well as the Gold Award in “Singapore Health Quality Service” in 2018. She participates in outreach through educational talks to the public, family practitioners and medical students. Her passion and commitment to teaching has been recognized with the “Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence” from the NUS YLL School of Medicine.
Dr Tan also actively serves the medical community by sitting on the Singapore Medical Association Council since 2008, and was the First Vice-President of the SMA Council from 2017-2019. Subsequently, she was elected as the first female President of the council of the Singapore Medical Association from 209 to present. In her 5 year term as Chief Editor of the SMA Newsletter from 2014-2019, she had also been curating selected articles to promote continuing medical education and encouraging a friendly spirit of collegiality amongst fellow doctors. She has also published and presented research in articles and renowned journals both locally and internationally.
As part of the advocacy work for doctors and for patients, she is serving as a Nominated Member of Parliament from 2019 to 2021, and she seeks to actively contribute to national discussions on healthcare, for private insurance fairness, and in the fight against Covid.
A clinician at heart, Dr Tan Yia Swam knows how distressing a breast symptom can be, and wants to deliver prompt and accurate diagnosis, in a warm, friendly and supportive environment.
Breast Specialist Doctor FAQs
I would say there are three types:
(1) A General Surgeon like myself, who sub-specialises in Breast Cancer treatment. Due to SMC rules, we are not supposed to call ourselves “breast surgeon”, even though most of us do exclusively breast work!
(2) A Plastic Surgeon: who may do the reconstruction for breast cancer, or who do purely cosmetic work like implants
(3) A General Practitioner, who may be trained in aesthetics and offering other forms of beauty treatment for the breasts
After these years of looking after breast cancer patients, I realise it is very personalised. Some patients find me “too young”; some prefer a male surgeon. Yet others are very comfortable with me and appreciate my style of care- maybe like an older sister, or even motherly- depending on their age relative to mine! That’s why I set up my own “Breast Friend Wellness” brand. Cancer diagnosis should not be scary and having a breast cancer should not be the end. It is just a medical condition like any other- we diagnose, we treat it, and life goes on.
Skills wise, I tell my patients, I truly believe all local doctors are well trained, and the surgery will be smooth. The differences lie in our own personal preferences, and that shows in our counselling process.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer, keep in mind that it is a lifelong condition- you will need to have a surgeon, and a team of specialists who will walk with you; the initial one year, and in the many years ahead- to keep you well; and in case of any cancer recurrence, to help pick it up early and do another round of treatments.
For all ladies aged 18-80: do monthly breast self-examination.
If you feel a new lump: get it checked. It may be non-cancerous, or it may be- we cannot tell by touch alone.
Once you turn 40: start your mammogram screening, and discuss with your doctor, if you need a supplementary US breast screening as well.
Dr Ho is an accredited Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Surgeon. Since his graduation from the medical faculty at the National University of Singapore in 1994, Dr Ho has accumulated more than 20 years of clinical experience.
Dr Ho Choon Kiat is a general surgeon practising at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Parkway East Hospital and Mount Alvernia Hospital. Dr Ho specialises in the treatment of liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile duct cancers, as well as benign hepatobiliary diseases like gallstone, bile duct stone, pancreatitis, cystic tumours of the pancreas and neuroendocrine cancer. Dr Ho Choon Kiat is a general surgeon practising at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Parkway East Hospital and Mount Alvernia Hospital. Dr Ho specialises in the treatment of liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile duct cancers, as well as benign hepatobiliary diseases like gallstone, bile duct stone, pancreatitis, cystic tumours of the pancreas and neuroendocrine cancer. Dr Ho Choon Kiat is a general surgeon practising at Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, Parkway East Hospital and Mount Alvernia Hospital. Dr Ho specialises in the treatment of liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile duct cancers, as well as benign hepatobiliary diseases like gallstone, bile duct stone, pancreatitis, cystic tumours of the pancreas and neuroendocrine cancer.