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Support crucial in helping prostate cancer patients
According to the Singapore Cancer Registry, advanced or stage-four cases made up 30 per cent of the Prostate Cancer cases in Singapore from 2010 to 2014. Between 1976 and 2015, the incidence of prostrate cancer rose from 5.9 to 29.7 per 100,000 Singaporean men. A newly launched public education campaign hopes to encourage men and their loved ones to recognise the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and to seek medical help. A/Prof Edmund Chiong, Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Urology), NCIS, said: "If men are more aware of the manifestations of advanced prostate cancer, seek appropriate help and perform shared decision making with their doctor, they have a better chance of fighting the disease successfully."
In search of better treatments
It can be said that clinician scientists are constantly striving to attain the best of both worlds: To provide the best care for patients, and to find the best ways to treat diseases. The medical research conducted by clinician scientists is not limited to the quest for improved medicines and treatments. Other areas of research include developing medical instruments and innovative tools to make treatment easier, and conducting research to explore health systems and find out how to make health systems better for patient and society. Read more about what fuels Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director & Senior Consultant and Professor Goh Boon Cher's, Deputy Director (Research) & Senior Consultant, NCIS, passion in being clinician scientists.
Mainstreaming genetic counselling for ovarian cancer could support screening, in Malaysia and beyond
A study that looked at mainstreaming genetic counselling for ovarian cancer to support screening programmes in Malaysia was presented at the ESMO Asia 2017 Congress. The preliminary results of the MaGiC study show that most patients counselled by a well-trained but not necessarily an expert in genetics were satisfied or just as satisfied with their experience. Dr Lee Soo Chin, Senior Consultant, NCIS, weighs in on the viability of genetic testing.
MOH tweaking rules to improve healthcare
The Ministry of Health (MOH) is looking at and changing policies, legislation and rules that hinder instead of help in the provision of healthcare. One example is autologous bone marrow transplant for multiple myeloma cancer patients, which can be done without the patient having to be hospitalised. According to Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director & Senior Consultant, NCIS, it is better for the patient to be living in the home environment with family support as they are not exposed to hospital-acquired infections.
'Economy class syndrome' a misnomer
“Left untreated, more than 50 per cent of the patients with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) will get PE,” said Dr Yap Eng Soo, Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS. And one-quarter of the patients who show symptoms of PE could die within 14 days, if they are not treated. DVT and PE are known together as venous thromboembolism (VTE).
Commentary: Exercise leads to longer lives, higher survival rates in breast cancer patients
The benefits of physical activity on cancer survival have been studied for many different types of cancers, including breast cancer. A review of the research in more recent years reveals impressive results and suggests that breast cancer patients should take exercise more seriously. Associate Professor Lee Soo Chin, Head & Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, shared that the quiet healing powers exercise offers to breast cancer survivors suggest that more physical activity may be helpful.
Revolution in cancer care
Local researchers have identified biomarkers that are significantly associated with breast cancer recurrence. The possibility of cancer recurrence among early breast cancer patients, if tested positive with this biomarker, was nearly 40 times higher. Based on this discovery, a simple and easy- to- use blood test would be developed in future for clinical diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer patients. Co-author Associate Professor Lee Soo Chin, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, shared that the discovery of this biomarker was expected to help patients avoid prolonged exposure to radiation released by computer tomography and developed more targeted therapies.
Drug combo may boost cancer treatment: Study
Scientists at the National University of Singapore may have found a promising way to fight colorectal cancer, up to 10 times more effective, minus the toxic effects of conventional treatment. Dr Tan Ker Kan, Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Colorectal Surgery) NCIS, weighs in on the feasibility of this treatment.
Although cancer is no longer a death sentence, the diagnosis of the disease no doubt brings tremendous distress to both the patient and the family. As medical treatments for cancer progress at a disproportionate pace—where new treatments only bring about months of additional survival time—many distraught patients resort to alternative medicine in search for a miracle cure. Till date, we have yet to see a cure-all miracle drug. It is even harder to find one in alternative cancer treatments. “Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) is widely used by patients doing chemotherapy treatment, but some of them do not inform their oncologist about it,” remarked the study lead author, Dr Chong Wan Qin, Associate Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS.
In 2008, the NCIS launched a phone service for our oncology nurses to make follow-up phone calls to patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment, to help reduce patients' visits to the hospital.
Research studies conclude that alternative medicine may sometimes be harmful or reduce a treatment’s effectiveness. According to Dr Chong Wan Qin, Associate Consultant, NCIS, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widely used by patients doing chemotherapy treatment, but some of them do not inform their oncologists about it.
He quit smoking after finding he had cancer
At his surgeon's, Dr Tan Ker Kan, Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Colorectal Surgery), NCIS, advice, Mr Koh Teck Hoe, who was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colorectal Cancer quit smoking and adopted a healthy lifestyle. Today, after eight cycles of chemotherapy combined with a drastic lifestyle change, he is cancer-free.
Advanced Practice Nurse (Dr) Lee Yee Mei, Head, Division of Oncology Nursing, NCIS, is the first local APN who is able to perform bone marrow extractions. Dr Lee is also one of this year's recipients for the President's Award for Nurses. Apart from her competency in clinical skills, Dr Lee also oversaw the establishment of the Lymphoma Support Group at the NCIS and is committed to raising community awareness of cancer screening and has initiated several programmes to make the cancer journey a more seamless one for our patients.
Thyroid lumps affect 2.8% of the Singapore population, including the young, but are commonly found in adults between the ages of 30 and 40 years old. Thyroid Cancer can affect both genders but it is increasingly more commonly diagnosed in females. It is also the 8th most common cancer in Singaporean women. In this article contributed by Dr Ngiam Kee Yuan, Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Thyroid and Endocrine Surgery), NCIS, he shares more about the risk factors, symptoms, occurrence and treatment of Thyroid Cancer.
Dr Choo Bok Ai, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, NCIS, shares insight on Nasopharyngeal Cancer (NPC) and treatment options. Mr Jaffar Abdullah, a patient of the NCIS who suffered from NPC, shares his experience managing and coping with NPC as well.
Health screening services to face tighter regulations: MOH
Health screening services will soon face tighter regulation as authorities seek to introduce licensing requirements. This will come under a new Healthcare Services Bill, which will replace the Private Hospitals and Medical Clinics Act. Associate Professor Lee Soo Chin, Head & Senior Consultant, NCIS, shares her views about setting up a panel to come up with a recommended battery of tests for the population.
Study links gastric cancer to protein level
Professor Jimmy So, Head and Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, NCIS, gave his comments on the study on DOK6 protein and its link to gastric cancer progression.
一个东西 看成两个 鼻癌症状？
One of the commonest symptom of Nose Cancer is a neck lump which is a late discovery. Other possible early symptoms will include blood stained nasal discharge and unilateral blocked ear with or without hearing impairment. Definite late discovery will result in double vision from involvement of the nerves to the eye. In this article, Dr Lim Chwee Ming, Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Head & Neck Surgery), NCIS, shares more about the incidence and treatment of Nose Cancer.
- Shin Min Daily News, 19 July 2017
Blood tests may not detect cancer earlier
Many people have the misconception that they need to do cancer or tumour marker tests to screen for cancer. Dr Lim Siew Eng, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, said blood tests should preferably not be used in place of recommended screening tests for cancer. According to Dr Lim, "Blood tests are convenient. But they have not been shown to reduce cancer mortality and may not detect cancer earlier, and could also give rise to a false sense of well-being."
Get Curious with Biotechin.Asia: Prof Chng. on Multiple Myeloma, Darzalex and what it means for patients
Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant, NCIS, provides key insight on Multiple Myeloma, his research on the disease, treatment options, as well as what the recent approval of Johnson&Johnson's Darzalex means for patients.
J&J joins the fight against Multiple Myeloma in Singapore with their new drug Darzalex
Darzalex, a monoclonal antibody was recently approved by the Singapore Health Sciences Authority for Multiple Myeloma patients who have become resistant to current drug therapies. Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director & Senior Consultant, NCIS, weighs in on the rising incidence and treatment of Multiple Myeloma.
Grateful for the chance to give back to society
Mr Aaron Rosario Jeyaraj, who was among those awarded the Public Service Commission scholarship yesterday, was a volunteer at the NCIS three years ago. Together with three friends, they set aside time almost every week to interact with cancer patients, talking about their families and even current affairs. Aaron says that the experience has taught him to appreciate what he has.
Novartis readies for FDA review of $1 billion CAR-T child cancer hope
Professor Dario Campana, Department of Paediatrics, NUS, and scientist at the NCIS, weighs in on Novartis' investigational drug, CTL019, which has proven effective in killing leukaemia cells specifically and rapidly.
Positive effects of home-based cancer care
In recent years, there has been a paradigm shift from hospital-based care to transitional and home-based services in the public healthcare system here. It has prompted acute care hospitals to develop programmes that extend care from the hospital into the community. In this DocTalk article by Dr Michelle Poon, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, she shares more about the positive effects of homecare and the home care programme at the NCIS.
Doktor: Barah ovari sukar dikesan awal
Unlike Cervical Cancer, there are no early signs for Ovarian Cancer. It is called the silent killer, with most women detecting it at the late stages. Dr Ida Ismail, Consultant, Division of Gynaecologic Oncology, NCIS, shared that the number of ovarian cancer patients had increased over the last 40 years – from 7.3 in every 100,000 to 12.7.
Breast, prostate cancers rising sharply in Singapore
Over the past 40 years, the incidence of breast cancer has more than doubled, and the incidence of prostate cancer has gone up fivefold. While colorectal cancer remains the top cancer in Singapore, the rates have been decreasing gradually over the past 15 years. Dr Tan Ker Kan, Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Colorectal Surgery), NCIS, stresses on the importance of early detection, which can result in better outcomes.
Commentary: More than a village needed to raise youths with complex care needs
Thirty years ago, the line between paediatric and adult medicine was more clearly defined. Children either made it to adulthood, or they didn’t. But over the years, medical advances meant that more and more children with severe congenital or acquired conditions are surviving into adolescence and even early adulthood. In this article, Dr Noreen Chan, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Palliative Care, NCIS, weighs in on the complex care needs of youths and how to address these needs.
Specialist skin consultation available at polyclinics with e-consult service
Specialist skin consultation is now available at polyclinics with e-consult service, joining the bandwagon of other public healthcare institutions, including the NCIS, which were one of the pioneers to offer e-consult services to patients.
This Common Virus Test Could Save Your Life - And You Only Need It Every 5 Years!
In Singapore, Cervical Cancer is one of the top 10 cancers affecting women. In this interview with Dr Joseph Ng, Senior Consultant, Division of Gynaecologic Oncology, NCIS, he shares valuable information on the risk of developing Cervical Cancer, and the importance of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) test and vaccine.
Commentary: When children die, they take away the future
In this insightful piece by Dr Noreen Chan, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Palliative Care, NCIS, she weighs in on coping with the loss of children and young adults, and how palliative care can come into play to better cope with the loss.
First-degree relatives must do early colonoscopy
In Singapore, Colorectal Cancer is the most common cancer for men and the second most common cancer for women. Every day, five people here are diagnosed with Colorectal Cancer and two die of it. In a new study led by Dr Tan Ker Kan, Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Colorectal Cancer), NCIS, findings show that immediate family members of people who have Colorectal Cancer are not aware of their heightened risk of developing the cancer or that they should undergo screening earlier.
Zipper malfunction translated into cures
In this DocTalk article by Associate Professor Allen Yeoh, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, he uncovers how chemotherapy drug for childhood leukaemia exploits zipper-like function for better cures.
APBN Interview with Professor Chng Wee Joo
In this exclusive interview with Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant of the NCIS, he weighs in on the incidence and treatment of Multiple Myeloma, as well as upcoming clinical trials conducted through the Asian Myeloma Network, which provide early access to effective drugs in the treatment of the disease.
Asian Myeloma Network (AMN) Brings Clincal Trials to Cancer Patients in Asia and Provides Early Access to Effective Drugs
A first-of-its-kind multi-centre, multi-country clinical trial on Multiple Myeloma cancer established by the NCIS has produced positive outcomes, benefiting patients not just in Singapore but in Asia.
Pomalidomide+dexamethasone an option for relapse/refractory myeloma in Asians
The largest multi-centre study in Asia, the AMN 001 clinical trial, conducted via the Asian Myeloma Network, has shown to double the survival rates of Myeloma patients in Asia who do not respond well to standard treatment. Prof Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant, NCIS, who is also the lead investigator of the trial, sheds key insights on the study.
E-consultations a boon for patients
Video calls with doctors will become common in public healthcare sectors soon. This new consultation platform will be rolled out at the NCIS from mid-2017 onwards.
Doctor turns bone marrow donor
Dr Ivan Tham, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, NCIS, was honoured at the Bone Marrow Donor Programme’s Celebration of Heroes event as one of the bone marrow donors. Law and Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam, the BMDP’s patron, was at the event to present 48 bone marrow donors with their awards for showing “extraordinary volunteerism” and saving lives.
A mixed report card for Smart Nation initiatives
As part of Singapore's Smart Nation initiatives, the NCIS is on board the national platform for telemedicine, which is scheduled to be launched from mid-2017 onwards.
National video consultation platform for healthcare needs launched
Following Singapore's nationwide implementation of video consultation for video services, the NCIS will be utilising this platform from mid-2017 onwards. Via this initiative, patients can communicate with healthcare professionals for care on issues such as post-stroke needs, communicable diseases, and cancer.
The NCIS has come up with a new treatment, using Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy for patients with late-stage stomach cancer. Under this targeted treatment, the chemo fluid will be inserted directly into the stomach area. Of the 22 patients who participated in the clinical trial, more than half of the patients had their lifespan extended more than 16 months, which was comparatively longer than the usual three to six months for such patients undergoing the traditional treatment. Prof Jimmy So, Head & Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, NCIS, was interviewed for this exclusive story.
Zuellig Pharma launches new innovation centre
Following the launch of Zuellig Pharma's new innovation centre which consists of virtual doctors providing patients with tailored health advice, while acknowledging the benefits of new digital solutions to patients, Dr David Tan, Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, also highlighted that medical treatment's personal touch will still be necessary.
Drug combo doubles myeloma survival rate
Hope for Myeloma patients as a new drug combination tested in the largest multi-centre trial conducted in Asia led by Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director and Senior Consultant, NCIS, doubles the survival rates of patients who did not respond well to standard treatment.
For those with a family history of Breast Cancer, Dr David Tan, Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, recommends undergoing the BRCA gene test, which will serve as a good indication for planning and precautionary measures for posterity.
Catching tigers among docile pussycats
Mr P, who is in his late 50s, went to his general practitioner complaining about a weak urinary stream. He was alo waking up several times a night to pee. He underwent a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which a blood test done mainly to screen for prostate cancer.
Lion-hearted fighter beats the odds
Boy with rare form of Leukaemia gets a second chance of life with cord blood from his newborn sister and stem cells from his mother.
Silver linings, even as childhood cancer rates rise
Despite the increase in childhood cancer rates, a silver lining exists in the form of better survival rates. Associate Professor Allen Yeoh, Senior Consultant, Division of Paediatric Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, provides key insights on the management and treatment of childhood cancer.
Patient challenges SMC ruling on plastic surgeon over alleged botched breast reconstruction
Dr Ong Wei Chen, Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology, NCIS and Division of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Department of Surgery, NUH, weighs in on the aim of breast reconstructive surgery.
New test helps detect nose cancer earlier
Local researchers have developed a new blood test to detect traces of virus associated with Nose Cancer. Dr Lim Chwee Ming, Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Head and Neck Surgery), NCIS, said the amount of BamHI-W detected through the blood test after cancer treatment could help an oncologist decide if a patient needs additional chemotherapy after the main or initial treatment to kill any cancer cells that may be left behind.
Acute Leukaemia patients are getting a new lease of life, thanks to stem cell transplants. Dr Michelle Poon, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, writes about the treatment options and outcomes of Acute Leukaemia.