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The lessons learnt after the diagnosis of cancer are common to many who have suffered from this disease, and perhaps a few are unique to our experience. Below is a compilation of valuable lessons learnt by survivors who had gone through the cancer journey, which we would like to share with our readers.




As the greatest physician, God appreciates the value of a referral.

The way you look affects the way you feel.

Early detection and prevention is important. We went through many months of denial and postponement that allowed the cancer to advance. This can be totally prevented. For those of us who have a religion, we believe that God has given our doctors an arsenal of treatments and the will to find a cure. Whatever faith we have embraced, our own God wants us to have faith, but at the same time God wants us to seek out earthly assistance.

It is terribly painful to lose one’s hair. But if it is going to happen, get a short haircut right away. It lessens the trauma as the hair comes out. Wigs can be an opportunity to experiment with the different look you fancy. Take special care to wear clothes that make you feel attractive. Pay attention to grooming and hygiene. Look for humour and find opportunities to laugh. It is one of God’s greatest gifts. Nothing can make you feel and look better than a smile.

LESSON 2 Make sure your doctor understands that hope is a vital part of the practice of medicine. We heard repeatedly from our doctors that attitude and faith had an enormous effect on healing. One wonders why more physicians are not prescribing it. It is at least as effective as some of our medications.

LESSON 3 Cancer is NOT an infectious disease. We will always be grateful for the overwhelming love we received from friends and family. But we are saddened by several personal and professional friends who never once responded to our most basic need to show they cared. The silence is deafening.

LESSON 4 Avoid doomsayers. Just as it is vitally important to hear encouragement from friends and family, it is equally important to avoid those who deliver gloom and doom. Seek out people who radiate a positive glow, and stay away from those who drain your energy and confidence.

Tender Care October / November 2008

Listen more, look more and love more.



Cancer does NOT mean the end of a sexual relationship.

Strengthen your faith.

It is not easy to talk about one of the most personal aspects of life. The closeness and bond between you and your partner during this time are critically important to maintain. While the period following the diagnosis and treatment requires untold patience and understanding, normal sexual relations can and should continue. It is important to discuss this with your doctor or nurse. They may be able to offer some helpful tips or advice.

LESSON 7 Listen more, look more and love more. Cancer changes everything. But it does not have to change everything for the worse. Even in this terrible situation, there is opportunity. It is important to slow down and reevaluate what and who is really important in life. Cancer can bring wonderful people into your life that will give you strength, love and special kindness.

Cancer is a lonely disease but you do not have to go through it alone. We are no longer in denial and are able to go on with our lives feeling enriched and happier than ever. For many, having faith in a religion helps and for those who do not have a specific religion, talking about your illness with your close friends and relatives will help to strengthen your hope and confidence to cope with it. We have confidence in the future and know that no matter what cancer has in store, we are prepared for it.

CANCER SUPPORT PROGRAMMES The National Cancer Centre Singapore conducts support programmes for patients, their families and cancer survivors to address issues of living with cancer. For more information, please call the Cancer Helpline at 6225 5655 or email:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Special thanks to all cancer survivors for sharing their thoughts and experiences.

NCCS Salubris Issue No. 01 (Public Edition)  

A razorSHARK design. Salubris is a National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) bi-monthly newsletter publication.

NCCS Salubris Issue No. 01 (Public Edition)  

A razorSHARK design. Salubris is a National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) bi-monthly newsletter publication.