Page 1

Issue No. 09 • MICA (P) 149/10/2009


...HELPING R E A DERS TO ACHIEV E GOOD HE A LTH Salubris is a Latin word which means healthy, in good condition (body) and wholesome.



In Other Words


March / April 2010


He is under no illusion that it will be a tough four years ahead, and he is prepared to face the upcoming challenges resolutely. From the Department of Medical Oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Dr Iain Tan will be embarking on his National Research Foundation (NRF) – Ministry of Health (MOH) Healthcare Research Scholarships.


t is great to see an aspiring young talent take the arduous path of being a clinician-scientist, and that can only strengthen NCCS’ commitment to excellence in research and clinical services. Funded by the National Research Foundation, the aim of this scholarship is to equip doctors with the academic qualifications and skills to pursue a career as a clinician-scientist. The NRF-MOH Research Scholarships also seek to promote clinical and translational research in Singapore.

The reasons that prompted Dr Tan to apply for this scholarship were straightforward. As a physician with a deep interest in science, it was his desire to participate in such a translational research that can potentially benefit cancer patients and his aspiration to undergo the rigours of scientific training that can only be provided by a formal PhD programme that led to his decision.


In Other Words


March / April 2010

Whilst there may be many others who will grab the opportunity of going overseas with this PhD Scholarship, Dr Tan has gladly chosen to pursue his doctoral programme locally. Started in January 2010, he devotes his time between the NCCS and the National University of Singapore Graduate School. The fervent interest in gastric cancer, which is a disease endemic in Asia, was the rationale behind his stay in Singapore. In fact, Dr Patrick Tan, a principal investigator from NCCS, has also set up a world leading genomics research programme focusing specifically on gastric cancer. “This is a perfect match of working in a scientific and clinical environment. I am very comfortable in applying cutting edge translational research technologies on a disease type I am interested in. I am indeed fortunate that all these can be found at home, right at the Outram Campus,” said Dr Iain Tan. Moreover, Dr Iain Tan will follow his interest and undertake research work under the guidance of Dr Patrick Tan, who is also the associate professor at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School. “I will be working mainly on the application of molecular technologies to identify potential biomarkers in the tumour or blood of patients with gastric cancer that will guide physicians in selecting the best treatment for individual patients, so that they can benefit from the treatment with the least toxicity,” Dr Iain Tan explained. It seemed like a great challenge for clinician-scientists to juggle the competing demands between the lab, clinic and school. But Dr Tan believes that the most important thing is to strive for a work-life balance. With a supportive supervisor and department, and most importantly a loving and understanding wife, he is thankful for their role in helping him to accomplish his achievements. Dr Tan also believes that there are indeed many career opportunities for clinicianscientists as the government has invested a large amount of resources in developing the biomedical research environment in Singapore. Cancer is a complicated field of study as there is no single standard treatment, and it depends on the reactions of various individuals to the treatment. Therefore, it is enlightening to see medical professionals, such as Dr Tan, putting in precious hours for the benefit of cancer study in the long run. “It is clear that cancer is not just one disease but extremely heterogeneous. Each cancer profile is different and constantly evolves over time. The ‘personalised medicine’ approach seeks to identify ‘predictive biomarkers’ for physicians to select initial treatment, and adjust subsequent treatment that will be tailored to the individual’s cancer profile. This is a paradigm shift away from the ‘one-size fits all’ approach and it is an area of intense research,” Dr Tan concluded.

By Joshua Tan

“I will be working mainly on the application of molecular technologies to identify potential biomarkers in the tumour or blood of patients with gastric cancer that will guide physicians in selecting the best treatment for individual patients, so that they can benefit from the treatment with the least toxicity.” Dr Iain Tan


In Focus


March / April 2010


Besides the lymph nodes and blood stream, another common site for the growth and spread of cancer is the peritoneum. Although it is unviable and complex to treat peritoneal metastases which is present in advanced stage cancer, the National Cancer Centre Singapore’s team of oncologists and nurses recognise that treatment efforts on the peritoneum can prevent the spread of cancer and decided to take the lesstrodden path to learn the intricacies of the Peritonectomy – a procedure with potential to prolong survival of patients. Veronica Lee reports.


he team paid a month-long visit to Dr Paul Sugarbaker, Director of Surgical Oncology at the Washington Cancer Institute and Washington Hospital Center, the pioneer in this field to fine tune their experience with Peritonectomy. They later shared their learning in a seminar with more than 60 surgeons, oncologists and healthcare professionals at NCCS.

About 25% of colon cancer patients and 50% of ovarian cancer patients are known to have metastasised cancer in the peritoneal cavity at some stage of their disease.

The peritoneum is a smooth transparent serous membrane which lines the cavity of the human body. With a massive surface area comparable to that of the skin which interlinks all parts of the body, the Peritoneum can be implicated by any pathological process that takes place in the peritoneal cavity, enabling cross metastasis of cancer to take place via the fluid or cells within the cavity.

On the complexity of Peritonectomy, Dr Tan Yu-Meng, Deputy Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Sugical Oncology explained, “This surgical procedure requires a surgeon to be familiar with surgery of not just the primary organ but the entire abdominal cavity and especially the pelvic organs and the liver. It also requires significant stamina and meticulous surgical technique. Ideally, we need a multi-disciplinary team to successfully carry out this procedure. Surgeons and medical oncologists of different sub-specialties must synchronise all efforts for the benefit of patients. It is a coordinated effort of every team member as everyone has to avail themselves for such a complex surgery.”

Peritonectomy was originally used for Pseudomyxoma Peritonei (PMP), a rare and slow-growing type of cancer. The good results with PMP has been encouraging and led to an attempt of the procedure on more common cancers which affect the peritoneum like colorectal and ovarian cancers.

The treatment which removes all visible cancerous tumour deposits in the abdominal cavity involves seven major surgical procedures in a single operation of between 7 and 14 hours. This is followed by Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC), a procedure which rinses the abdominal cavity with heated chemotherapy to eliminate the residual tumour implants that are invisible to the naked eye for more effective tumour cell death than conventional chemotherapy.

Dr Tan added that the morbidity and mortality from this complex procedure are significant and many of these cancers are already advanced at presentation and recurrence can be high. Not all patients are suitable for such treatment. Dr Tan however believes there is potential for better outcomes for patients and surgeons. “It is possible to prolong survival in selected patients who would be deemed incurable. This procedure involves a bridging of knowledge and expertise of sub-specialties also offers us opportunities to learn from one another on how to handle difficult surgeries,” he said. With more than 50 Peritonectomies performed at NCCS, Dr Tan said it is a good starting point for the field to evolve into mainstream surgery and overcome the rarity of the treatment in the future. This would lead to the prolonging of patients’ lives, a goal that NCCS constantly seeks to achieve.



Looking Forward


March / April 2010

Obesity is on the rise and reaching epidemic proportions in many parts of the world. The adverse effects of obesity on health are causes for anxiety because it is a fundamental problem of public health. Recent studies have shown that many Asians, including Singaporeans, have higher proportion of body fat compared to Caucasians of the same age, gender and Body Mass Index (BMI).


ingaporeans are consuming more calories than before, putting them at risk for other diseases such as diabetes and cancer. At the same time, more of us are leading a sedentary lifestyle. When you combine these two factors, it is not surprising to see an increase in obesity rate in Singapore.

THE INCIDENCE OF OBESITY IS GREATER IN: • the age group 50 to 59 • women (although men have a greater incidence of being overweight i.e. BMI in the range of 25 to 30) The increasing level of obesity amongst children is also a concern. One of the reasons is due to the rise in calorie intake as more families dine out. Fast food restaurants can be found in every shopping mall and heartland, so it is cheap and easy to maintain a high fat, high calorie diet. Food portions served at restaurants are typically larger and contain high levels of unhealthy fats with little fiber or nutrients. These factors along with fewer opportunities for exercise, contributes to expanding waistlines. But people are starting to pay attention to the kind of food they eat as cancer incidences rises and their awareness of the disease increase.

In 2004, members of the World Health Organisation (WHO) convened to hold an expert consultation to review the BMI cut-offs which defines risks for diseases in Asian populations. The Ministry of Health and Health Promotion Board have recommended the following BMI cut-offs:

BMI (kg/m2) for Adults

Health Risk

27.5 and above

High Risk

23 – 27.4

Moderate Risk

18.5 – 22.9

Low Risk (healthy range)

Below 18.5

Risk of nutritional deficiency diseases and osteoporosis Continued on page B2.



Looking Forward


March / April 2010

Continued from page B1.


BMI = (kg/m ) 2

Weight (kgs) Height in metres


Or use the BMI Calculator at

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HEALTH UP AND YOUR CALORIES DOWN: Scrutinise food labels It pays to scrutinise the ingredients listed on labels. Manufacturers often use misleading terms such as “sea salt” instead of “salt”, “sucrose” or “fructose” instead of “sugar”. There is as yet little evidence that dietary supplements such as vitamin pills can replace the benefits of a healthy diet.

Exercise regularly Regular exercise has been linked to a reduction in the incidence of cancer in some studies. Although some of these studies are often difficult to interpret with certainty: people who exercise, for example, are less likely to smoke. There is growing evidence that regular exercise helps prevent cancer.

Start the day right Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Some studies have shown that people who consumed more calories in the morning will take fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. It is good to have a large breakfast to start the day.

Smaller servings Replace standard sized plates with smaller ones. Even though you fill up your plate, you will still be getting fewer calories. Eat slowly because it can take several minutes for the brain to get the message that the stomach is full. Leave the table before you feel completely full so that you won’t overeat.

Snacking There is a large variety of unhealthy snacks easily available in stores and vending machines. Most of these food are high in calories and low in nutrition. Opt to take healthy snacks such as fresh or dried fruit so that you will not be tempted by the unhealthy snacks.

Dining out When you do dine out, make better choices. Skip the soft drink and choose water instead. Order a fruit yoghurt instead of creamy desserts. Many restaurants now offer a “lighter” section that includes lower fat and carbohydrate entrées.

Look for the “Healthier Choice” label.

The healthiest diets are those rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber and low in calories. Select dark coloured fruits and vegetables such as spinach, kale, strawberries and blueberries. They contain more vitamins and antioxidants. Read the labels and be aware of how many calories you are consuming on a daily basis.

Keep your child slim Instill a healthy dietary habit in children and keep them slim and active. Avoid feeding them food that contain excessive sugar, fat and carbohydrate, and encourage regular exercises. After all, a lifetime of “healthy eating” may reduce cancer risk by as much as 30 to 50%, so it is never too early to start!

By Flora Yong

Senior Nurse Manager Cancer Education & Information Service NCCS

REFERENCES: Health Promotion Board – Revision of Body Mass Index (BMI) Cut-Offs in Singapore. Press release issued on 16th March 2005. Department of Health and Human Services – National Institute of Health Calculate your Body Mass Index



Tender Care


March / April 2010

Patients diagnosed with cancer receiving chemotherapy will experience some side effects in the course of their treatment. Not only are there changes to their body, there are also emotional and psychosocial changes associated with chemotherapy. As their child(ren), next-of-kin or caregivers, it is important to give the patient your utmost support and care. Below is a table of common side effects which may be used as a guide to help your loved ones manage it and achieve a better quality of life.

Side Effect


Non-Drug Management


• Temporary

• Keep hair short

(Hair loss)

• Varies from slight thinning to complete baldness

• Wear a wig or head covers

• Can start 10 to 21 days after receiving chemotherapy • Severity depends on type of drug Anorexia

Due to:

(Loss of appetite)

• Change in taste • Psychological factor • Reduced saliva production Onset of anorexia varies with each individual. Approximately 15 to 40% of patients will experience it earlier in the course of treatment.

Nausea and Vomiting

• If nausea or vomiting happens, it is usually worst on the day of treatment • Can last for 3 or more days after chemotherapy

Drug Management

• Avoid using strong medicated shampoo • Use SPF-containing skin products to protect skin and exposed scalp • Patient should avoid food found unpleasant previously • Use seasonings, gravies, or sauces to improve flavour

• Discuss with your doctor if appetite stimulant are OK for patient (e.g. megestrol or dexamethasone)

• Marinate meat to enhance flavour or replace with other high protein foods if there is a strong dislike for meat

• Artificial saliva to moisten the mouth

• Take small but frequent meals

Note: The above medications are prescription items.

• Try food or beverages that are easy to consume

• Avoid fatty or fried food, or food that is very spicy or sweet • Eat food that has been cooled to room temperature or cold

• Saliva stimulant (e.g. pilocarpine)

Take anti-vomiting drugs as prescribed by the doctor e.g. metoclopramide, dexamethasone, ondansetron or granisetron

Tip: Take the medication as a preventive measure or as soon as the patient feels nausea. Do not wait till the patient has vomited. Continued on page B4.



Tender Care


March / April 2010

Continued from page B3.

Side Effect Constipation

Characteristics • Unable to move bowels (need to strain) • Moving bowels less often than before

Non-Drug Management • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of fluid each day • Consume more fiber (e.g. cereals, fruits and vegetables) • Exercise daily

• Hard stools


• More than 2 loose or watery stools per day • May occur within 24 hours of chemotherapy (acute) or more than 24 hours after chemotherapy

• Eat smaller but more frequent meals • Eat low-fiber food e.g. white bread, white rice, fish and yogurt

Drug Management • If the patient tends to develop constipation after each course of chemotherapy, take medication e.g. lactulose, senna, bisacodyl, liquid paraffin, fybogel to prevent it from recurring after subsequent cycles • Take the anti-diarrhoea drugs as prescribed by the doctor e.g. loperamide, lomotil

• Avoid high-fiber food e.g. whole-grain breads, cereals and raw vegetables • Drink plenty of fluids (about 2 litres) e.g. water, apple juice, clear soups • Avoid milk and milk products • Refrain from coffee, tea, and alcohol


• Weak, tired • Lacks self-motivation

• Take well-balanced meals and drink sufficient water

• Supplement with energyfortified drinks

• Dizzy spells

• Keep a bedtime routine

• Feelings of laziness or depression

• Do light exercises

• Discuss with your doctor if you need treatment for anaemia (supplement with iron tablets or multivitamins, injection of erythropoietin or even blood transfusion may be deemed necessary by your doctor for treating or preventing fatigue due to anaemia)

• Avoid doing over-tiring household chores

Mucositis (Sore mouth)

• Inflammation of the mouth lining leading to redness and ulceration

• Examine the mouth regularly to check for ulcers, patches, or scars

• Gargle regularly throughout the day with salt water or antiseptic mouthwash (e.g. chlorhexidine, glycerin thymol)

• Keep mouth clean and moist • Avoid hot, spicy or sour food and drinks • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol • Avoid using mouthwash that contain more than 6% alcohol

Please call our Cancer Helpline at tel: 6225 5655 if you would like to know more about other side effects of chemotherapy and ways to manage it.

• Apply oral gel to the ulcers as prescribed by the doctor (e.g. kenalog in orabase, ora-sed gel)

By Ng Hui Cheng

Senior Oncology Pharmacist Oncology Pharmacy NCCS

减少卡路里 癌症远离你



March / April 2010

肥胖是一般健康问题的根 源。最近的研究显示,与年 龄、性别和身体质量指数一 样的白种人相比,很多亚洲 人的体内脂肪比例较高。

身体质量指数的计算公式: 身体质 量指数 (kg/m2)

现在的新加坡人比以前摄 取更多卡路里,罹患其他疾 病(例如糖尿病和癌症)的 风险也相应增加。更糟的是, 我们大多数人都缺乏运动。

以下两个组别的肥胖率较高: •


• 女性(虽然男性超重的机率较高, 即身体质量指数在25至30之间) 此外,逐渐增加的儿童肥胖问题也引起 人们的关注。其中一个原因是越来越多 家庭外出用餐,导致儿童摄取过量的卡 路里。快餐店比比皆是,而且餐厅提供 的食物份量通常比较大。加上缺乏锻炼 身体,现在的人容易肥胖。但是,随着 癌症发病率上升和人们对疾病的意识 提高,人们开始注意他们的饮食习惯。 bmi/bmi-m.htm

以下是一些小贴士,帮助你减少卡路里的摄取量,保持身体健康: 查看食物标签


花一点时间仔细查看食物标签上的成 分。制造商往往会采用一些误导性的字 眼,例如用“海盐”来取代“盐”、用“蔗 糖”或“果糖”来取代“糖”。目前也没有 实例证明像维他命丸这样的保健食品可 取代健康饮食所带来的益处。

外出用餐时,你应舍弃汽水和奶油甜点, 选择白开水和水果酸奶。你也可留意餐 馆是否有“较健康选择”(Healthier Choice) 标签。

经常锻炼身体 虽然有些研究难以阐明其确定性(例如 常做运动的人通常不抽烟),但有越来越 多证据显示,经常锻炼身体有助于预防 癌症及减少癌症的发病率。


身体质量指数的健康临界点,以便为亚 洲人定义罹患疾病的风险。新加坡卫生 部和保健促进局对身体质量指数的健 康临界点提出了以下建议:





23 – 27.4


18.5 – 22.9

低风险 (健康)


罹患营养缺乏症和骨 质疏松症的风险提高

身高 (平方公尺)



成人的身体质 量指数 (kg/m2)


体重 (公斤)

早餐是一天当中最重要的一餐。研究显 示,在早上摄取较多卡路里的人,在接下 来的一整天内将摄取较少的卡路里。 把标准大小的盘子换成较小的餐具。即 使你把盘子装满,你还是摄入较少的卡 路里。吃东西时,应放慢速度,因为大脑 需要几分钟的时间来接收吃饱的信息。 此外,你应在感到很饱之前离席,以免自 己吃得太多。

学会选择零食 商店和自动贩卖机有各式各样高卡路里, 营养成分很低的垃圾零食。选择健康的 零食,例如新鲜水果或干果,以克服垃圾 零食的诱惑。

健康饮食指的是选择卡路里低及水果、 蔬菜和纤维含量高的食物。选择颜色较 深的蔬果,例如菠菜、甘蓝类蔬菜、草莓 和蓝莓。它们含有更多维他命和抗氧化 剂。仔细查看标签,并注意自己每天的卡 路里摄取量。

帮助孩子保持身材 培养孩子健康饮食的良好习惯,以保持 他们身材适中、活泼健康。避免给他们吃 含有过量糖分、脂肪和碳水化合物的食 物,以及鼓励他们常运动。说到底,健康 饮食一辈子可减少罹患癌症的风险高达 30%至50%。今天就开始行动吧!

作者: 杨宝燕

高级护士经理 癌症教育与资讯服务部 新加坡国立癌症中心

参考: 保健促进局 – 检讨新加坡身体质量指数的健 康临界点。新闻稿发布于2005年3月16日。

美国卫生及公共服务部 – 国立卫生研究院 。 计算你的身体质量指数:




March / April 2010

接受化疗的癌症病人往往会面对一些在治疗期 间出现的副作用。他们的身体会产生一些变化, 情绪和社会心理也会因为化疗而起伏不定。因 此,身为病人的子女、家属或看护者,你一定要 给予他们最大的支持和关怀。 以下图表是化疗常见的副作用,让你作为参考,更好地帮助病人控制这 些副作用,维持良好的生活品质。

副作用 脱发



• 暂时性

• 保持短发

• 因人而异;有些人只是轻微脱 发,有些人则严重秃头

• 戴假发或头套

• 接受化疗10至21天后开始 脱发


• 避免使用药效强烈的洗发剂 • 使用含防晒系数的护肤品,以保 护皮肤和外露的头皮

• 严重程度视所服用的药物而定 厌食症


• 避免一些令病人食欲不振的食物


• 味觉产生变化

• 使用调味料、肉汁或酱汁来增加 食物的味道

• 心理因素 • 唾液分泌减少 出现厌食症状的时段因人而异。 大约15%至40%的病人在治疗初 期就会出现这种症状。 恶心呕吐

• 恶心呕吐的症状通常在化 疗当天最为严重 • 化疗后,这种症状可持续 三天或更久

• 烹煮前先腌肉,让食物更美味。 如果病人不喜欢吃肉,可用其他 高蛋白质食物来取代

• 咨询医生的建议,看看病人 是否适合服用开胃剂 (例如 甲地孕酮或地塞米松) • 使用人工唾液,让口腔湿润 • 使用唾液刺激素 (例如匹罗 卡品)

• 少量多餐


• 选择易于下咽的食物或饮料

• 服用医生开的止吐药,例如 甲氧氯普胺、地塞米松、恩 丹西酮或格雷西隆

• 避免油腻或油炸、太辣或太甜 的食物 • 食用已经降至室温或放凉的 食物

提示:在病人感到恶心时服 用,以防万一。不要等到病人 呕吐后才吃药。



March / April 2010

副作用 便秘




• 无法排便 (排便时须要用力)

• 每天喝六至八杯水

• 排便次数比以前少

• 摄取更多纤维 (例如麦片、水果 和蔬菜)

• 粪便很硬

• 每天运动 腹泻

• 一天腹泻超过两次

• 少量多餐

• 会在化疗后的24小时内 (急性 反应) 或超过24小时后出现

• 吃低纤维食物,例如白面包、白 饭、鱼和酸奶

• 如果病人每次化疗后都出现 便秘,可服用乳果糖、番泻 叶、比沙可啶、石蜡油和纤 维通便剂等药物,以避免日 后再出现这种症状 • 服用医生开的止泻药,例如 洛哌丁胺、复方苯乙哌啶

• 避免高纤维食物,例如全麦面 包、麦片和生菜 • 喝大量的水 (大约两公升) ,例如 白开水、苹果汁和清汤 • 避免牛奶和乳制品 • 避免饮用咖啡、茶和含酒精饮料 疲劳


• 虚弱、疲倦

• 喝足够的水及摄取均衡的饮食

• 喝补充体能的饮料

• 干劲不足

• 保持固定的就寝时间

• 晕眩

• 做轻微的运动

• 感到懒惰或郁闷

• 避免做太累的家务

• 咨询医生的建议,看看病人 是否须要治疗贫血 (摄取补 铁药片或综合维他命、注射 促红细胞成长素或医生可能 认为需要输血,以治疗或预 防因贫血而引起的疲劳)

• 口腔发炎,导致红肿和溃烂

• 定期检查口腔溃疡、斑点或疤痕


• 保持口腔清洁和湿润 • 避免热、辣或酸的食物和饮料 • 避免抽烟和酗酒 • 避免使用含有超过6%酒精的漱 口剂

请拨打我们的癌症援助热线 6225 多化疗的其他副作用及控制方法。


• 全天定时使用盐水或抗菌漱 口剂 (例如洗必泰、百里香 酚甘油) 漱口 • 使用医生开的口服凝胶 (例 如口腔软膏、痱滋膏) ,治 疗口腔溃疡

作者: 黄慧真

高级肿瘤学化疗药剂师 肿瘤学化疗药物部门 新加坡国立癌症中心




March / April 2010


Event Name

Date, Time, Venue

Registration Details

CancerWise Workshop –

22 May 2010, Saturday

Admission fee: $5


Session will be conducted in English.

To register, please call: 6225 5655 or register online:


1pm – Registration 1.30pm to 4pm – Workshop

a. Common Bowel Problems b. Risks, Signs & Symptoms c. Early Detection & Prevention d. Screening & Diagnostic Procedures

Function Room, Level 4 National Cancer Centre Singapore 11 Hospital Drive, Singapore 169610

e. Treatment Options

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CANCER Cancer Helpline Tel: 6225 5655 Email: Monday to Friday: 8.30am to 5.30pm Saturday, Sunday & Public Holiday: Closed

欲了解更多有关癌症的资讯,请拨打癌症援助热线 电话: 6225 5655 电邮: 星期一至星期五: 上午8点半至下午5点半 星期六, 星期天及公共假期: 休息





March / April 2010

“Thank you. I’ve always enjoyed this,” said the patient as she reached out for a sachet of Oat Krunch crackers in the tray, with the words ‘Bite Me’, and ‘Try Me’ scribbled on the pack.


his was the Monday morning routine for the team from Corporate Communications Department as they went round distributing free Munchy’s at the National Cancer Centre Singapore clinics since December last year. Patients and visitors alike get the opportunity to sample Chunky Organic Hazelnut and Strawberry & Blackcurrent Oat Krunch crackers. As the name implies, oat is the main ingredient used, and is no wonder a big hit among the patients. Those who return regularly for treatment often look forward to this special Monday treat. The project was sponsored by Munchy Food Industries Sdn Bhd. Munchy’s, a Malaysian homegrown brand which started out in 1999, has since grown tremendously and now boasts more than 70 products ranging from biscuits to wafers and crackers. Their mission: “To provide fun, cheeky, yummylicious, and affordable biscuits and snacks for everybody around the world.” Fun aside, the company is committed to giving back to society. It thus came as no surprise when Country Manager Munchy’s Singapore, Ms Vonnis Ho, knocked on the doors of the NCCS, hoping a little ‘Krunch’ could make a difference in the lives of patients, visitors, and healthcare staff there.

“It (giving back to society) has always been part and parcel of Munchy’s culture,” said Ms Ho. “It’s our way of thanking consumers for their support.”

Indeed, apart from NCCS and the Singapore General Hospital, Munchy Food Industries has to-date supported more than 130 events, including charity events, in Malaysia alone. Commenting on the Corporate Communications project, Mr Sunny Wee, Community and Media Relations Advisor of NCCS expressed his gratitude saying, “We are thankful to Munchy Food Industries for their charitable support. What we are doing is part of our corporate policy to show care and compassion to our patients in whatever way we can.”

By Carol Ang

Executive Corporate Communications NCCS




March / April 2010

SCIENTIST MARISSA TEO GETS TOP UNESCO-L’OREAL AWARD - lst S’pore woman to win the international fellowship

Never mind the distance, never mind the cold, Dr Marissa Teo did the honours for the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) to become the first Singaporean to receive the coveted UNESCO-L’Oreal for Women in Science International Fellowship.


onning a knee-length white cheongsam, the petite Dr Teo went on stage in Paris to receive what she would deem as “one of the highlights in my arduous journey as a scientist”.

There was every reason to be happy as Dr Teo was among the 15 recipients of the International Fellowship, awarded annually to young women scientists pursuing their doctorate or post-doctorate in Life Sciences. Three from each of the five regions, namely Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific, Arab States, and Europe and North America are selected by the UNESCO-L’Oreal Fellowship Selection Committee.

“It could possibly stem from my sheer determination, stamina and ‘never-say-die’ attitude because in research, months of hard work very often does not equate to the output that we desire. So we have to keep trying and have no fear of failure.” Dr Marissa Teo

Dr Teo, 33, is a research fellow in the Laboratory of Cell Therapy and Cancer Vaccine of the Humphrey Oei Institute of Cancer Research. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy degree in 1999 and pursued her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from Washington’s Georgetown University. Upon her return to Singapore in 2004, she joined NCCS as a fellow and has been working alongside Dr Toh Han Chong, Associate Investigator and Head of the Medical Oncology Department on a potential treatment for patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, or cancer of the nose, is the 6th most common cancer amongst Singaporean men, more so among the Chinese. It claimed the lives of 542 men between 2003 and 2007, according to the Singapore Cancer Registry’s Interim Report on Trends in Cancer Incidence in Singapore.

Photo courtesy of L’Oreal Singapore.




March / April 2010

Dr Teo’s International Fellowship award came with prize money and a short stint at the world renowned Center for Cell and Gene Therapy in Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA. There at the Center, she will study EBV and “train” lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells drawn from the patient and inject it back to the donor to fight EBV.

Epstein Barr virus (EBV) which is linked to the causation of nasopharyngeal carcinoma is also common in China, Southeast Asia, the Arctic region and North Africa. So the success of her research will be beneficial not only to Singaporeans but also to people in the region suffering from the disease. Dr Teo’s International Fellowship award came with prize money and a short stint at the world renowned Center for Cell and Gene Therapy in Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, USA. There at the Center, she will study EBV and “train” lymphocytes, a type of white blood cells drawn from the patient and inject it back to the donor to fight EBV. On her secret to success, Dr Teo shared that “it could possibly stem from my sheer determination, stamina and ‘never-say-die’ attitude because in research, months of hard work very often does not equate to the output that we desire. So we have to keep trying and have no fear of failure.”

By Carol Ang

Executive Corporate Communications NCCS





Dr Soong Yoke Lim

Consultant, Radiation Oncology

Dr Tan Min-Han

Consultant, Medical Oncology

Dr Ngeow Yuen Yie Joanne

Associate Consultant, Medical Oncology

Dr Chau Noan Minh

Consultant, Medical Oncology

Dr Tan Ngian Chye

Consultant, Surgical Oncology

Dr Harsh Kumar Ashok Kumar Sadana

Associate Consultant, Oncologic Imaging

Dr Lim Hwee Yong

Associate Consultant, Medical Oncology

Dr Tay Kuang Wei Kevin

Associate Consultant, Medical Oncology

Dr Kiattisa A/P Sommat

Registrar, Radiation Oncology



NCC Foundation


March / April 2010

The 2nd OCBC Cycle Singapore is more than just a cycling event where competitive cyclists congregate at the F1 race track to compete against each other or where amateur cyclists, families and friends come to have fun.


ith their strong belief to do their bit for the community, OCBC supported Adviser of the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Prof London Lucien Ooi’s initiative to host a non-competitive category together with NCCS – The Cycle of Hope, for the first time to increase cancer awareness amongst Singaporeans as well as to raise funds to support cancer research. The result? A turnout of more than 400 participants. These included cancer survivors from the various cancer support groups within NCCS, their families and friends, staff of NCCS, as well as a strong contingent from Methodist Girls’ School (MGS) who took part in the ride, covering a distance of 2.5km or 5km along the F1 Pit Building on the beautiful evening of 6th March 2010. Also present were Dr William Tan, ambassador and friend of NCCS and Mr Ezzy Wang a cancer survivor. It was truly an inspiring moment for many who were there to cheer for them on their return lap. The duo were an embodiment of the true spirit of hope in the event. “It was something that I had to do. I want to show everyone that there is still hope. As long as we keep going, we will reach the finish point and find a cure for cancer,” said Ezzy. Besides taking time off from their books to hit the road, MGS students also contributed their time and effort towards cancer education and cancer research. Dressed in laboratory coats, the students engaged visitors to the NCCS booth and encouraged them to pen their notes of encouragements on coloured cards for cancer patients.

Editorial Advisors Dr Kon Oi Lian Prof Soo Khee Chee Executive Editors Ms Carol Ang Ms Veronica Lee Mr Sunny Wee

Contributing Editor Dr Wong Nan Soon

Medical Editor Dr Richard Yeo

Members, Editorial Board Ms Audrey-Anne Oei Ms Sharon Leow Ms Flora Yong

Members, Medical Editorial Board Ms Lita Chew Dr Mohd Farid Dr Melissa Teo Dr Teo Tze Hern Dr Deborah Watkinson

The coloured cards, sold to raise funds for NCC Research Fund (NCCRF), formed a delightful rainbow currently on display at the NCCS lift lobby on level two. More than $15,000 was raised in total for NCCRF through the consolidated efforts of these avid supporters. “The Cycle of Hope would not have been possible without the participation of our brave cancer warriors, supporters, generous sponsors, MGS and NCCS staff who volunteered their time for this momentous event,” said Prof London Lucien Ooi.

“Every cent raised for cancer research will help propel our researchers, scientists and clinicians further in their knowledge and understanding of the disease. This in future will allow them to bring breakthroughs in treatment or diagnosis to benefit cancer patients.”


is produced with you in mind. If there are other topics related to cancer that you would like to read about or if you would like to provide some feedback on the articles covered, please email to


11 Hospital Drive Singapore 169610 Tel: (65) 6436 8000 Fax: (65) 6225 6283

Salubris - Mar / April 2010  

Salubris is a bi-monthly publication by the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). It aims to provide information relating to cancer, our...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you