What Is Cancer?
The term “cancer” refers to a group of diseases characterised by abnormal cell growth. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells divide and grow uncontrollably, and these excess cells form a mass of tissue called a tumour.
These tumours can either be non-cancerous (benign), which are rarely life-threatening, or harmful (malignant). Malignant tumours can make you very sick as they destroy other normal tissues on your body. However, not all types of cancers form tumours. For example, tumours are uncommon in Leukaemia, which is a cancer of the blood or bone marrow.
To learn more about the disease and its causes, you may consider exploring these websites:
Upon a cancer diagnosis, you may develop strong emotions or feel uncertain about what you need to do as a caregiver. Learn more on what you can do in managing the cancer diagnosis here, and caregiving responsibilities throughout the journey here.
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer often involve a cancer care team that consists of healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, and social workers. This care team will come together to ensure that your loved one receives the best possible care. The care team will recommend suitable treatment options for your loved one, as this varies from person to person. Some of the common treatments include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
Cancer and its treatment can cause your loved one to experience multiple physical and emotional side effects, such as fatigue, muscle weakness, and poor memory. You can help your loved one to manage the symptoms and side effects of the treatment. Professional rehabilitation can help your loved one recover and reintegrate back into society. You can also support your loved one’s recovery journey by giving them encouragement for the problems that they may face when adjusting to their “new normal”.
Financial Schemes & Resources
Common costs for cancer-related care can include outpatient costs, medication, transportation charges, and so on. Other than caring for your loved one’s health, these costs may be a cause of concern for you as well. Your loved one can also use the financial assistance schemes to offset some of the expenses. In addition, be sure to also check with your insurance company if your loved one owns a health insurance plan, which medical costs are covered under the plan, and what to do in order to make the necessary claims.
Additionally, there are organisations such as the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) and 365 Cancer Prevention Society which also offer various forms of financial assistance to cancer patients and their families. Please visit their websites to find out more about their financial schemes available:
End-of- Life Preparation
Sometimes, the condition of your loved ones may be deteriorating and the goal is to make your loved one comfortable, and not to treat or for them to recover. This may be a difficult period. Learn more about preparing for end-of-life signs and care.
If you are struggling with the care needs of your loved one at home, Home-Based Respite Care may be able to provide you with some support.
Caring For Myself
Caregiving can be both physically and mentally exhausting. Over time, caregiver stress can lead to increased irritability, fatigue, frequent illness, headaches, and ultimately, burnout. While caring for your loved one, be sure to practise self-care as well by taking frequent breaks to recharge. You may feel guilty or selfish for paying attention to yourself, but remember that practising self-care is important for you as a caregiver to continue journeying with your loved one. Learn more about the importance of self-care and how to manage caregiver stress here.
There are support groups that you can attend with your loved one. These sessions create opportunities for you to meet with other caregivers caring for cancer patients; people who are going through or have gone through similar experiences so that you do not have to walk through this journey alone. Support groups also provide you with an opportunity to share personal experiences, feelings, and tips on how to care for your loved one.
Support Groups for caregivers caring for loved ones with cancer
- Singapore Cancer Society
- National Cancer Centre Singapore
- National University Cancer Institute Singapore
- Singapore Liver Cancer Support Group
- Singapore Cancer Society Multi-Service Centre
- Singapore Cancer Society Rehabilitation Centre
- 365 Cancer Prevention Society – Counselling Services/Nutrition Consultation/Care & Support Team
- 365 Cancer Prevention Society Social Service Centres
For other support groups, learn more here.
If you feel like you are unable to continue coping and may need professional assistance, please call the following helplines:
Alternatively, you may visit Singapore Cancer Society’s Satellite Offices and Centres:
SCS Satellite Office @ NCIS
National University Hospital, Medical Centre
1 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Level 9, Unit D2
Opening hours: Mondays to Friday 9.00AM to 5.00PM
SCS Clinic @ Bishan
Junction 8 Office Tower
9 Bishan Place, #06-05
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 8.30AM to 6.00PM/
Saturdays, 8.30AM to 4.00PM
SCS Satellite Office @ NCCS
National Cancer Centre Singapore
11 Hospital Drive
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 8.30AM to 5.00PM
SCS Cancer Rehabilitation Centre
JEM Office Tower
52 Jurong Gateway Road, #08-04
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9.00AM to 6.00PM/
Saturdays, 9.00AM to 1.00PM
You may also visit 365 Cancer Prevention Society’s Office & Social Service Centres:
365 Cancer Prevention Society Centres’ and Office’s Operating Hours
Monday – Friday: 8:30am – 6:00pm
(Closed on Saturday, Sunday and public holiday)
365 Cancer Prevention Society (Office)
38 Jalan Pemimpin,
Social Service Centre (Ang Mo Kio)
Blk 621, Ang Mo Kio Ave 9,
#01-68, Singapore 560621
Social Service Centre (Tampines)
Blk 885A, Tampines St 83,
#01-123, Singapore 521885
Social Service Centre (Bukit Panjang)
Blk 108, Gangsa Road,
#01-171, Singapore 670108
Social Service Centre (Clementi)
Blk 331, Clementi Ave 2,
#01-132, Singapore 120331
There are resources and toolkits available in the community.
- Resources and toolkits by Singapore Cancer Society
- Resources by 365 Cancer Prevention Society
- Caregiver Resources by Singapore Hospice Council
- Palliative Care 101: A Complete Guide to End-of-Life Care by Homage
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