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30 Nov 2019

30th Nov 2019

Professor William Hwang, Medical Director, National Cancer Centre Singapore

Mr Richard Magnus, Chairman, Temasek Foundation Cares

Ms Woon Saet Nyoon, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation Cares

Dr Kiley Loh, Chair, Organising Committee for Best of Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer meeting

Ladies and gentlemen


  1. I am pleased to be here at the inaugural Best of Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC) meeting on Supportive and Survivorship Care, organised by the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).


  2. Cancer is the leading cause of death globally. In Singapore, around one in four people is expected to develop cancer in their lifetime.


  3. While improvements in screening and treatment have led to improved survival in many early and advanced cancers, cancer survivors often find themselves facing a myriad of physical, emotional and psychological issues. These include pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, difficulties returning to work and fear of recurrence. While healthcare professionals work to diagnose and treat cancer, it is equally important that we put in efforts to help cancer survivors achieve a good quality of life by developing effective holistic cancer support services.


    Launch of Temasek Foundation ACCESS Programme

  4. Currently, there are a number of patient support programmes run by NCCS, other public healthcare institutions and non-profit organisations. However, care coordination and integration across the different services and care settings can be improved so that patients are consistently referred to and access the services they require and receive the care they need.


  5. Support services are useful for patients undergoing cancer treatment who often experience side-effects. 63-year-old Ms Jenelle, a breast cancer survivor since 2010, is one of many cancer survivors who need such support. In April 2018, she felt excruciating pain in her neck and shoulder. She underwent a series of tests but the source of the pain could not be identified until she had a biopsy on a swelling lymph node on her neck and was diagnosed with a relapse of breast cancer. Jenelle subsequently received chemotherapy and is now on lifetime medication to control the cancer cells from spreading. However, the treatment caused side effects such as mood swings, forgetfulness, poor concentration and numbness in her fingers and toes. She shared with her doctor that she was depressed and was referred to the NCCS’ supportive care team in early October 2019 who provided her with emotional support as well as practical techniques on coping with insomnia.


  6. The Temasek Foundation Accessible Cancer Care to Enable Support for Survivors (ACCESS) programme that is being launched today aims to bridge the gap in the current clinical care landscape for patients like Jenelle who may have long-term supportive care needs. The initiative is a partnership between NCCS and Temasek Foundation.


  7. The programme comprises three components. The first is a new holistic clinical after-care model that will facilitate the recovery of cancer survivors. Patients will be screened at their initial and subsequent medical visits at NCCS to assess their emotional state, and a multi-disciplinary supportive care team will then monitor and refer them to the relevant supportive care services.


  8. The second component of the programme is to build a community network of after-care supportive services to meet the needs of cancer survivors as they transit to the community. This includes various community-based partners such as general practitioners, social workers and rehabilitation therapists.


  9. The last component is a structured training programme by NCCS to upskill community partners as they provide after-care service. The training will address topics such as managing physical symptoms and psychosocial problems in cancer survivors, and providing evidence-based post-treatment care. This will enable community partners to provide quality holistic care to our cancer survivors.


  10. Ultimately, the programme will help cancer patients overcome challenges in their recovery journey through its care and support, and help them to regain their places in society and continue to live a fulfilling life as best as they can.For their loved ones and their families, it will bring much comfort to know that cancer survivors will get all the support they need to live life to the fullest.


  11. The Temasek Foundation’s generous contribution will help support the pilot project for breast cancer survivors over two years under the Temasek Foundation ACCESS programme. The eventual aim is to roll out a holistic after-care programme to benefit survivors of other cancers too, so that all survivors have the necessary support to improve their quality of life.



  12. Supportive and survivorship needs are important throughout the entire continuum of cancer care.


  13. As a community, we need to show cancer survivors that they are not alone and there is a network of supportive care to help them. I would also like to thank the many cancer care staff gathered here, for providing much needed care for our cancer patients in Singapore.


  14. On that note, I hope you all have a fruitful meeting today on your sharing for supportive and survivorship care.

Thank you.

Category: Speeches