2016

 

Jan  |  Feb  |  Mar  |  Apr  |  May  |  Jun  |  Jul  |  Aug  |  Sep  |  Oct  |  Nov  |  Dec


Dec 2016


Dad's genes matter in breast cancer


Dr Lee Soo Chin, Associate Director (Research) & Senior Consultant, NCIS, weighs in on familial cancers and explains why gender does not play any role in the inheritance of the gene mutation which causes hereditary Breast Cancer.






A fascination with scientific discoveries


For his research in the field of blood cancers which has led to better patient outcomes and understanding of the diseases as well as the pioneering of new ways to deliver cancer treatment, Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant, NCIS, was awarded the National Outstanding Clinician Scientist Award in August last year. Finds out what drives his fascination with scientific discoveries.






Clinician scientists still in short supply

 

Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant at the NCIS, said Singapore is still in the early stages of developing clinician scientists. "While funding has improved greatly, most hospitals and departments, even in academic institutions, are still more focused on clinical service and may not provide enough protected time or infrastructure and resources for research," said Prof Chng.

 

 



First approved targeted therapy for Gastric Cancer in Singapore offers new way and hope of treating disease


Good news for Gastric Cancer patients as first approved targeted therapy for Gastric Cancer in Singapore offers new way and hope of treating the disease. Dr Yong Wei Peng, Associate Director (Research) and Senior Consultant from the NCIS explains, “What makes stomach cancer one of the most challenging diseases to treat is that patients often come to us at advanced stages where treatment options are limited. In the second-line setting, chemotherapy significantly improved the overall survival compared with best supportive care; However, the median survival with chemotherapy alone has been less than 6 months. As per the RAINBOW study, CYRAMZA®used in combination with chemotherapy to treat patients who have failed prior treatment, significantly improved response rate, duration of disease control and survival when compared to chemotherapy alone.” 






Novel stem-cell procedure saves boy's leg


Unlike the conventional gold-standard treatment which calls for a complete human leukocyte antigen (HLA) match, a novel stem-cell procedure known as haploidentical transplant, allows virtually anyone to have a suitable donor. The NUH was the first to successfully implement the procedure here for children, with the largest number treated so far, 38 successful transplants on children since 2010. The NCIS has done eight successful transplants on 2011, both mostly using the method to treat blood cancer leukaemia. 






Nov 2016


Why cancer of the pancreas is so deadly


In Singapore, Pancreas Cancer ranks as the fifth and sixth most common cause of cancer death among men and women respectively. The incidence and death rates for Pancreatic Cancer are about the same, which means those diagnosed have a high likelihood of dying from it. Dr Yong Wei Peng, Associate Director (Research) and Senior Consultant, NCIS, weighs in on why Pancreas Cancer is so deadly. 





 

找“过来人”为癌症患者打气


During their course of treatment, cancer patients tend to encounter helplessness and despondence, but their doubts and fears can be lessened with the support and encouragement of survivors who have been through the same journey. To help cancer patients overcome their doubts and fears of their cancer journey, Dr Choo Bok Ai, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, NCIS, formed the Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC) oneHeart Support Group back in 2008, comprising survivors and medical professionals to support newly diagnosed NPC patients. 

 

 



S'pore-developed tech a fillip to cancer treatment


Local scientists have come up with a "faster" method to see how well patients respond to treatment. Associate Professor Lee Soo Chin, Associate Director (Research) and Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, who was part of the research team, said that with this technology, there is also the potential to test cancer cells for sensitivity to anti-cancer drugs. "If validated, the test may be used to guide the choice of anti-cancer therapy in patients." 





 

四种常见癌症并发症


During the course of cancer treatment, complications may arise. Some complications may be preventable and others, unavoidable. While unavoidable complications tend to be uncommon, some may even result in death. In this article, Dr Ivan Tham, Head & Senior Consultant, Head & Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, NCIS, weighs in on the four common cancer complications that may arise.


 



Colorectal cancer: New method analyses tumour DNA in blood for easier diagnosis


Treatment of Colorectal Cancer has come a long way and Dr Chee Cheng Ean, Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, shares more about the treatment options available, including more sophisticated treatments such as targeted therapies and immunotherapy. 


 



Colorectal cancer numbers far too high, say experts


Every day, five people in Singapore are diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer and two die of it. These numbers are considered far too high by experts, as it is one of the most preventable cancers. The underlying problem is the lack of screening to detect the cancer in its early stages. Dr Chee Cheng Ean, Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, weighs in on Colorectal Cancer treatment.


 



Working his way back to fitness after horrendous period


Diagnosed with Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer, our patient, Mr Arun Rosiah who is a physical exercise specialist, had to undergo a surgery to remove 20cm of his large intestine, chemotherapy, radiation therapy as well as have a temporary stoma bag attached to him. Now, he has been found clear of cancer and is currently training for next year's StanChart marathon. 

 

 



Oct 2016


Liver cancer difficult to treat due to huge tumour variations


Liver cancer is the third-biggest cause of cancer death in men, and the fourth in women. Associate Professor Dan Yock Young, Senior Consultant, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, NUH, weighs in on the prevention and treatment of Liver Cancer.






Longer interval between chemo and surgery linked to better response in oesophageal cancer

 

Longer intervals between chemotherapy and surgery are linked to better response in esophageal cancer. Professor Jimmy So, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, NCIS, provides expert comments about why delaying surgical procedures for between 6-8 weeks between CRT completion and esophageal resection is in accordance with recommended guidelines. 








Before Angelina Jolie went public with her condition, only five to 10 women here would test for it each year, said Associate Professor Lee Soo Chin, Associate Director (Research) & Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS. The number has since shot up to between 80 and 100 a year. 


 



Blood test an inaccurate way to detect the cancer


Associate Professor Jeffrey Low, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Gynaecologic Oncology, NCIS, highlights that although a person with ovarian cancer could have a high level of CA-125, there are many other reasons for it, such as pregnancy and the presence of uterine fibroids or ovarian cysts, which are non-cancerous conditions.






Mutation leads to higher cancer risk


Dr David Tan, Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, urges women with an immediate family member who has had cancer with the gene mutation to also test for it.





Better ways to tackle womb and ovarian cancers


In the fight against Ovarian Cancer, the NCIS is continuously studying new Ovarian Cancer treatments. Dr David Tan, Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS is currently studying the benefits of combining low-dose radiotherapy with weekly chemotherapy. "Some data suggest low-dose radiotherapy might enhance chemotherapy," he said. 


 



Julia Gabriel's eight-year battle with cancer


One of our patients, Julia Gabriel, who was tested positive for the BRCA mutation, recounts her experience with Ovarian Cancer and how she continues to live and cope with it eight years on.



 


 

Their final days: More dying people sharing thoughts about life and death


A small but growing number of people spend their last days recording their thoughts on life and how they cope with impending death in order to share them with others. One such person was our cancer warrior, Mr Stephen Giam who chose to spend his final days recording a series of YouTube videos to share his journey with terminal bile duct cancer. Said Dr Jamie Zhou, Associate Consultant, Division of Palliative Care, NCIS, who helped edit Mr Giam's videos: "Nothing is more powerful than a patient's perspective and Stephen kept it real by being authentic and vulnerable. He believed very strongly in what he was doing." 






Stephen Says: A dying man's will to leave his mark through video messages


One of our cancer warriors, Stephen Giam, who succumbed to Stage 4 Bile Duct Cancer , documented his personal experience with terminal cancer sharing tips to help others cope and prepare for the close of life during his last days. Dr Noreen Chan, Head & Senior Consultant, and Dr Jamie Zhou, Associate Consultant, both from the Division of Palliative Care, NCIS, weigh in on their personal experience with Stephen as well as the importance of palliative care.





Get vaccinated against cervical cancer: Docs


Both vaccines - Cervarix and Gardasil - offer protection against two major strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which cause about 70 per cent of cervical cancers. Type 16 is responsible for 53.5 per cent and type 18 causes 17.2 per cent of cervical cancers, said Associate Professor Jeffrey Low, Head and Senior Consultant, Division of Gynaecologic Oncology, NCIS.





Prostate cancer screening better with new thinking


A new screening blood test for Prostate Cancer called the Prostate Health Index which is currently being developed at the NCIS has proven to be at least three times more accurate than the current Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, based on a study on 150 men.


 


 

Cutting-edge technology sharpens treatment


Dr Lincoln Tan, Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Urology), NCIS and Dr Keith Lim, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, NCIS weigh in on the latest advancements in Prostate Cancer treatment - the da Vinci Surgical System and Brachytherapy respectively.






Sep 2016

 

New hope in treating difficult triple-negative type


Hope for patients suffering from triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), a type of cancer that afflicts around 10% of breast cancer patients in Singapore but lacks targeted treatment, as Oncologists from the NCIS and the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine have found two novel drug combinations that could potentially treat the disease.





More women choosing breast reconstruction


More women in Singapore are opting for breast reconstruction after having a mastectomy to remove cancer tumours in their breasts. Dr Chan Ching Wan, Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Breast Surgery), NCIS, said that in 2010, 44 per cent of its patients who had undergone a mastectomy had their breasts reconstructed. In 2001, only 8 per cent had taken this option.




 

A step forward in defeating 'Godzilla-like' cancer


Nose cancer, dubbed as a 'Godzilla-like' cancer, is debilitating and difficult to treat in its later stages. Here at the NCIS, we utilise Raman spectroscopy which helps to detect nose cancer and even a recurrence of nose cancer early, which result in a better chance of recovery. Dr Lim Chwee Ming, Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Head and Neck Surgery), NCIS, sheds light on the use of Raman spectroscopy.





 

Regular check-ups help detect cancer early


Associate Professor Jimmy So, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, NCIS, reiterates the importance of regular cancer screenings in detecting the disease early, for better treatment outcomes.






Why do people who don't smoke get lung cancer?

 

Between 2010 to 2014, an increasing number of Chinese non-smoking women have fallen victim to Lung Cancer. Dr Chin Tan Min, Senior Consultant from the NCIS, weighs in on the current Lung Cancer trends, treatment and survival rates.


 


 

Determined to stay strong and not admit defeat

 

Despite regular exercise, a healthy diet and no family history, 54 year old Mr Lee Kok Cheong still fell prey to Lung Cancer. Despite his diagnosis, he remains determined to fight the disease with a strong mind and body. 


 


 

Cancer - A Caregiver's World


Cancer is a serious illness that does not just affect the patient, but their caregivers as well. In this article, Dr Noreen Chan, Head & Senior Consultant of our Division of Palliative Care, shares a case study of a cancer caregiver and provides advice as to how caregivers can better cope.







Risk groups: Asians, the elderly and smokers


Associate Professor Jimmy So, Head & Senior Consultant of our Division of Surgical Oncology, weighs in on the risk, trends and treatment for Gastric Cancer. 





Researchers work to boost treatment of gastric cancer


Dr Yong Wei Peng, Associate Director (Research) and Senior Consultant from the NCIS, sheds key insight on the research work that is currently being undertaken for gastric cancer. 






Shock of cancer diagnosis despite regular checks


54 year old Madam Serene Chua who underwent a stomach removal surgery for Gastric Cancer five years ago maintains a positive outlook on life with an excellent prognosis on her condition. 


 


 

Netizens raise $29,000 for Singaporean with leukaemia

 

Dr Melissa Ooi, Consultant from our Department of Haematology-Oncology, shares insight the symptoms and treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia. 

 

 


 

Aug 2016

 

Fighting the disease with a strong spirit

 

65 year old Peter Gwee was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in May last year. An active sportsman prior to his diagnosis, his advice to newly diagnosed patients with cancer, "Don't ask why; just accept it and move on. That's where I am today - mentally stronger". Read how he fought the disease with an unyielding mental strength.

 

 

 


 

Finding new ways of treating leukaemia in children

 

Cure rates for children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (the most common form of childhood cancer) are much higher now compared to decades ago with more than four in five young patients here being cured – Associate Professor Allen Yeoh, Senior Consultant from the Division of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology, NCIS said that doctors are today able to use different combinations of chemotherapy drugs in optimal doses to maximise the chance of a cure and minimise side effects.

 

 

 


 

Research evolves as more patients survive

 

Many blood cancers (multiple myeloma, lymphoma and leukaemia) once seen as death sentences have been transformed into chronic illnesses - thanks to newer, more specialised treatments, and better access to the latest drugs through clinical trials. Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant of the NCIS, said that treatment is improving and many patients are surviving longer with the condition. "It's like diabetes or high blood pressure - you can't quite cure the condition, and you need to take medicine for a long period of time, but you can sort of live with the disease". 

 

 



 

What not to eat during cancer treatment

 

The importance of nutrition in the recovery from cancer and following certain restrictive diets will not aid in cancer recovery were stressed in the article. Ms Esther Lin, Senior Dietitian at the NUH promoted eating fruits and vegetables and reduced intake of processed and red meat to aid cancer treatment.


 


 

New therapies offer hope to cancer patients


Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant of the NCIS, said cancers like low-grade lymphoma or multiple myeloma usually hit older people. But they can now survive 10 to 15 years. He said: "The treatment is very low-intensity. They take pills, so they don't need to stay in hospital for long. They have good quality of life. No one would know they have cancer." 






More in Singapore surviving cancer battle


No longer a death sentence, Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant of the NCIS,  said the focus of doctors today is "how to make people with cancer feel less like cancer patients".





 

Ex-swim star wins healthcare award


Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant from the NCIS is quoted on winning the National Outstanding Clinician Award at the National Medical Excellence Awards 2016.






Leukaemia diagnosis confirmed through blood test


Dr Melissa Ooi, Consultant from our Department of Haematology-Oncology, shares insight on the symptoms and management of Leukaemia. 


 



Wife discovered a lump which was confirmed to be cancerous after her husband urged her to get it checked


Advanced Practice Nurse Ednajoy Ngo from our Division of Oncology Nursing shares her experience dealing with cancer patients and their caregivers.





 

Leukaemia patient meets stranger who saved her life

 

One of our patients has an emotional meet-up with her stem cell donor, as they meet for the first time. Dr Tan Lip Kun, Senior Consultant from our Department of Haematology-Oncology, and her Oncologist, was also present to witness the heartwarming scene and shared advice on what donors can expect after a stem cell transplant.


 


 

Understanding risk factors of gastric cancer


In conjunction with Gastric Cancer Awareness Month, Associate Professor Jimmy So, Head & Senior Consultant, NCIS, shares about the possible risk factors and symptoms of Gastric Cancer.


 


 

Jul 2016

 

What's Different About Asia?


“It’s been very rewarding to see the quality of science and the opportunities in science now completely transformed from what it was ten or fifteen years ago,” said Professor John EL Wong, Chief Executive of National University Health System and Senior Consultant from the Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS. Featured as one of Singapore's scientific pioneers, Prof Wong shared with Asian Scientist Magazine his journey in transforming cancer treatments in Asia and establishing Singapore’s first academic health system. 







Taking care of cancer patients 'more stressful than in West'


A study by the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) and  the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) has shown that caregivers of cancer patients here feel more burdened and stressed as compared with caregivers in the West. In addition, male caregivers were found to have poorer qualities of life than their female counterparts. Dr Lim Siew Eng, Senior Consultant from the NCIS who co-led the study said stronger support services overseas such as having extended caregiver leave might also be why caregivers in Western countries fare better. The researchers hope that the study will lead to better support for caregivers by providing evidence of the challenges they face.








In this last of a two-part series run by The Straits Times on what to expect when recovering from prostate cancer surgery, Associate Professor Edmund Chiong, Senior Consultant from our Division of Surgical Oncology (Urology), discusses what patients can expect about a week after undergoing radical prostatectomy and provides advice on post-surgery management.




In this first of a two-part series run by The Straits Times on what to expect when recovering from prostate cancer surgery, Associate Professor Edmund Chiong, Senior Consultant from our Division of Surgical Oncology (Urology), sheds insight on what patients can expect when they return home after undergoing prostate cancer surgery and shares tips on how to facilitate recovery.






In and out of surgery in a jiffy, thanks to robotics


Dr Joseph Ng, Senior Consultant and Advanced Practice Nurse Joyce Er, both from our Division of Gynaecologic Oncology, share more about the use of minially invasive robotic surgery, a first in Singapore, which has led to significantly reduced downtime and improved recovery rate in hysterectomies, a type of surgery performed for 100-120 cases of endometrial cancer at the NCIS each year. 


 



Major surgery with minimal impact using 'da Vinci' robot


Dr Joseph Ng, Senior Consultant from our Division of Gynaecologic Oncology, weighs in on the benefits of robotic surgery in the treatment of endometrial cancer.


 



New medication helps to delay relapse of BRCA-mutated Ovarian Cancer


Lynparza (Olaparib), a newly released drug that marks the first personalised therapy for women with BRCA-mutated ovarian cancer, has allowed patients to be more responsive to chemotherapy and targeted therapies, as well as live longer.



 


 

S'pore trial could offer hope in fighting breast cancer


A new cancer treatment being tested for the first time in the world in Singapore has shown great promise in treating women suffering from tough-to-treat breast cancer. The treatment utilises the body's natural killer cells to stop the progression of late-stage breast cancer and may potentially lead to longer progression-free survival






Jun 2016


Minimising cancer, maximising life through support programmes


In a joint survey conducted by the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) and the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) in 2014, 87 per cent of cancer patients experienced functional decline as a result of cancer and/or its treatment emphasising the importance of support programmes. 





 

Privately-banked cord blood's low rate of use calls into question its necessity


For children, stem cell transplant is usually not the first line of treatment as well. National University Cancer Institute senior consultant Allen Yeoh said this is because it requires destroying the child’s existing cells to allow the new cells to take root and grow, which may cause long-lasting side effects such as infertility and growth problems.






May 2016


Singapore chemo trial gives hope to gastric cancer patients


Hope for advanced gastric cancer patients as a clinical trial conducted at the NCIS showed longer survival rates and better quality of life. "The response rate is impressive... There are minimal side effects and their quality of life improved.", said Associate Professor Jimmy So, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, NCIS.


 



Leukaemia drug for boy costs $150,000


Senior Consultant from our Division of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology, Associate Professor Allen Yeoh's 18 year old patient was featured in the news on coping with leukaemia since he was diagnosed at the age of seven.


 



Living and coping with cancer: When peer support can help


In conjunction with the sarcoma public forum organised by the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS) on 7 May 2016, Dr Mark Puhaindran and Dr Choo Bok Ai discussed sarcoma - the different types, symptoms, trends and treatment options. They also highlighted the importance of peer support and the launch of the sarcoma support group


 



March 2016


Cancer screening guidelines


Dr Lim Siew Eng, Associate Director (Clinical - Education) and Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS sheds insight on three types of cancer screening which have been proven effective before any signs and symptoms appear.


 




More people getting cancer since 2010


Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant from the Department of Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, weighs in on the rising incidence of cancer in Singapore.


 




New discovery paves the way for more precise treatment of white blood cell cancer


Associate Professor Allen Yeoh, Senior Consultant from the Division of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, leads a local study which paves the way for more accurate and tailored dosages of anti-cancer drugs to be adminstered to patients reducing the side effects from too high a dose.


 



Doctors frame guidelines for best cancer treatment


Local cancer doctors come together to produce the country's first guidelines on best practices for the treatment of several types of cancer. Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant of the Department of Haematology-Oncology and Dr Chan Ching Wan, Senior Consultant of the Division of Surgical Oncology (Breast Surgery), both from the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore shed insight on the usefulness of these guidelines.





February 2016


One blood test may be able to spot five cancers


Scientists in the United States have identified a DNA "signature" in blood that indicates the presence of five different cancers which could mark a breakthrough in diagnosis of the disease. Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant of the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore weighs in on the efficacy of this test.



 




World Cancer Day marked with activities to raise awareness on cancer prevention


The NCIS has its inaugural collaboration marked with activities to raise awareness on cancer prevention with the Singapore Cancer Society and the National Cancer Centre Singapore to observe World Cancer Day 2016 at the Toa Payoh HDB Hub.






 

January 2016


The fear of cancer


Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant of the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, addresses fears and common misconceptions related to cancer.


 




Ways to cope for caregivers of cancer patients


Dr Noreen Chan, Senior Consultant from the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore and Ms Elaine Ang, Palliative Care Nurse from the National University Hospital give advice on how cancer caregivers can cope with the stressors of caregiving.






 

The truth about nutrition for cancer patients


Ms Esther Lin, Senior Dietitian from the National University Hospital and the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore weighs in on the nutrional needs of cancer patients and debunks dietary myths.


  

 


 


Lung cancer can hit Asian women who don't smoke


Dr Chin Tan Min, Senior Consultant and Dr Tan Chee Seng, Consultant from the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore, share insights on the increasing trend of lung cancer occurence in Asian women who don't smoke.


 

 

 




15-year-old battled ovarian cancer  - and won


Dr Joseph Ng, Senior Consultant at the Division of Gynaecologic Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore provides shares data on the age risk of developing ovarian cancer.


 

 

 




Breakthrough in cancer surgery, thanks to crab meal


Breakthrough in gastric cancer surgery came from inspiration during crab meal.


 

 

 



 

NUS researchers find new promise in old cancer drug


Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant at the National University Cancer Institute, Singapore leads research project in developing old cancer drug that can inhibit growth of colorectal cancer cells.