10 MAY 2016

Equipping yourself against cancer

A Protection against Cancer seminar hosted by Parkway Cancer Centre covered common adult cancers and how treatment is now more accessible to all.

Nearly 80 people attended the Protection against Cancer seminar held at Conrad Centennial Singapore. Dr Tan Wu Meng, Specialist in Medical Oncology and Consultant at Parkway Cancer Centre, explained that, to battle cancer, we need to know more about it, and to know early.

The first step to fighting cancer is screening. The aim is to detect cancer early, so that treatment can be administered early and give the best possible chance of a full recovery.

Treatment of a Stage 1 cancer is generally easier than treatment for a Stage 4 (advanced) cancer. Some cancers can be treated just with surgery in the early stages, whereas later stages may require additional treatments such as chemotherapy. Chemotherapy can be administered via intravenous drip, oral medication, or with an injection.

Other forms of treatment include radiotherapy (using radiation to destroy cancer cells), hormone therapy (for prostate cancer and some forms of breast cancer), targeted therapy, and the latest, immunotherapy (using drugs to direct our immune system to fight cancer cells).

In the Q & A session that followed, Dr Tan said that early screening is even more important if you have a family history of cancer. It is helpful to find a doctor whom you are comfortable with and can trust. You should share your medical history and family history, so the doctor can assess your risk profile.

Don’t miss your screening

  • Common cancers in Singapore: Breast cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer.
  • Breast cancer screening should be done at least once every two years, for women over 50. Some women may benefit from mammogram screening annually between the age of 40 and 49, and should discuss with their doctor.
  • Pap smears should be performed once every three years if they are sexually active, in order to detect cervical cancer early.
  • Parents of girls from age 11 upwards should consider vaccinating them against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
  • A simple faecal blood occult test can help screen for early signs of colorectal cancer, although colonoscopy remains the gold standard.
  • Patients with chronic Hepatitis B and/or C and liver cirrhosis are especially at risk of liver cancer, and should have regular screening.
  • Lung cancer grows fast and is difficult to screen. Some heavy smokers (or heavy smokers who recently quit) may benefit from low-dose CT scan screening, although this test is not yet routine.

Offset cancer treatment costs with MediShield Life

Cancer treatment can be costly. However, the Singapore Government has introduced the new MediShield Life insurance scheme to help patients offset some of the cost. Some of the benefits are:

  • An increase in the maximum claim limit per policy year, from $70,000 to $100,000.
  • Higher outpatient treatment claim limits.
  • Chemotherapy for cancer is now claimable for up to $3,000 a month, up from $1,240 per 21/28 days.
  • Higher claim limits for certain radiotherapy treatments such as brachytherapy, from $160 to $500 per treatment.
  • No maximum age and no limits placed on lifetime coverage.

To find out more about the enhancements of the MediShield Life plan, visit: https://www.cpf.gov.sg/Members/Schemes/schemes/healthcare/medishield-life

POSTED IN Cancer Prevention, Cancer Treatments
TAGS adult cancer, chemotherapy, hepatitis cancer, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy (radiation therapy), reduce cancer risk, seminar & workshop, targeted therapy
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