Ask a General Surgeon (Endocrine): Dr Charles Tan from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore

Ask a Doctor ForumCategory: General SurgeryAsk a General Surgeon (Endocrine): Dr Charles Tan from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore
dr. Charles Tan asked 1 year ago
I am Dr Charles Tan, General Surgeon (Endocrine Surgery) based in Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore.

I have over 21 years of clinical experience, and my subspecialty interest is in endocrine surgery and endoscopic hernia repairs.

I attained my medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Leicester in 1995. After completing my basic surgery training in Singapore at the Singapore General Hospital & National University Hospital, I attained entry into the Fellowship of Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (FRCS) in 2006. I was then awarded a fellowship for further training at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Prior to establishing my private practice, I was formerly Senior Consultant at the National University Hospital (NUH) of Singapore. As Head of the Endocrine Surgery Division in NUH, I started the robotic axillary thyroid surgery program.

I currently have the largest experience of thyroid surgery via the axillary in Singapore. Apart from comprehensive treatment of thyroid cancers, other new procedures include minimally invasive parathyroid surgery under local anaesthesia and key-hole adrenal surgery (trans-abdominal or retroperitoneal).

I am currently the president of the Singapore Hernia Society. I have performed more than 1000 cases, of which 90% of cases are performed via key-hole.

I regularly conducts courses and master classes to share my expertise to fellow colleagues. I also have a strong passion to teach. I have been the best tutor in the department of surgery every year and still hold position as a visiting consultant, adjunct assistant professor in National University Hospital. To further contribute to medical education, I have written a best-seller OSCE book for students.

Learn more about Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital here: https://patients.smarterhealth.sg/hospital/mount-elizabeth-novena-hospital-singapore/

Learn more about me here: https://patients.smarterhealth.sg/specialist-doctor/charles-tan/

I am excited to be here to share/discuss endocrine health with everyone. Whether you’ve got questions about thyroid cancer, hernias, skin lesions, skin cysts or lipomas, ask me anything!

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Want to ask a question? Submit your question at the bottom of this page. Don’t forget to include your name and email address to get notified when the doctor answers your question.

16 Answers
Cindy Sagina answered 1 year ago
Doctor, what are the signs of a dangerous lump on the armpit? I have had a lump on my armpit for around 6 months. It is as hard as stone and dark-colored.
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

The signs of a dangerous lump include:
-feels hard
-irregular in shape
-can bleed

Any lump that is not getting smaller should be surgically removed to confirm diagnosis by testing in the Lab.

Fauzan answered 1 year ago
Doctor, I had lipoma. I read online where some articles said it is not dangerous, while some say it is dangerous. Which one is true?
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

A lipoma can only be 100% confirmed after surgical removal and sent for testing.

When the diagnosis is suspected after taking a history, physical examination and maybe ultrasound, it is @ 80% accurate.

Whether a lump is dangerous or not, it depends on what it originally is.

If a lump is not getting smaller, surgical removal is still recommended.

Nessa Dwi Murni answered 1 year ago
I am a 33 year old female. Whenever I have my period, there is a small lump that appears on my armpit. It is not too visible though, and can be felt when I touch it. It usually itches and the skin around it peels off too. I googled and some said that a lump on the armpit can be cancerous. The lump disappears when my period cycle completes though.
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

The behaviour of the lump is the armpit sounds like it responds to hormonal changes when you have your period. This is suggestive of breast tissue in the armpit. Surgical removal can be done the solve the problem

nanik answered 1 year ago
Doctor, I have a lump on my neck. I thought it was a goiter, but it has been 5 months and it’s still there. What is the solution, Doc?
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

Goiter is a lump arising from the thyroid gland.

A lump in the thyroid gland usually stays the same or increases in size. Cancer needs to be ruled out.

The lump in the neck that you have may or may not be from the thyroid gland.

Better see a doctor to confirm where the lump is arising from and to exclude a cancer.

Akyasa answered 1 year ago
 Doctor, I had lipoma and 9 months ago I received injection treatment for it (because the size is not too big and I am scared of surgery). However, the lump is now back. Does it mean surgery is the only way to permanently remove it?
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

Injection of the lipoma cannot treat the problem. Surgery to remove it is the only treatment.

Lucia S answered 1 year ago
Doctor, there is a small, hard lump on the back on my neck. It has been there for 2 months. It doesn’t get bigger though. I am curious – what could it be?
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

It is best to get it checked by a doctor to get a good assessment of the lump.

If the lump is slowly getting bigger, surgical removal is best advised.

Joko Purnomo answered 1 year ago
Good evening, Doctor. I am 48 years old. I have had a thyroid problem for 4 months now. I used to be able to feel my heart beat in my chest, but that issue has stopped. However, sometimes I feel the same sensation in my epigastrium. Is this still related to the thyroid problem? 
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

If the problem is at the epigastrium, it is most probably unrelated to the thyroid. Best see a doctor to have it checked.

yayan answered 1 year ago
Dr Charles, why do I have a goiter almost every month? Does it mean something is wrong with me?
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

A goitre means a swelling/growth in the thyroid gland. Goitres do not appear and disappear. They are constant. A swelling in the neck that appears every month is unlikely a goitre. It is better that you check with a Doctor.

Sahad Shabari answered 1 year ago
Doctor, there is a long lump from my neck to my left shoulder. It feels like meat when I touch it. It doesn’t hurt but looks weird. Is surgery the only solution or are there any other options?
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

it is better to have a check with a doctor. It sounds like a lipoma and yes, surgery is the only option.

Timotius Hendrawan answered 1 year ago
Is a lump under the chin considered a goiter, Doctor?
dr. Charles Tan
replied 1 year ago

Unlikely. A goitre is at the lower portion of the neck. There are many other causes for lumps under the chin.

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