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”.
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) and Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) 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:
National Cancer Centre Singapore Cancer Fund
Singapore Cancer Society Cancer Care Fund
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.
There is also a number of 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.
If you feel like you are unable to continue coping and may need professional assistance, please call the following helplines:
National Cancer Centre Singapore — 6225 5655
Singapore Cancer Society — 1800 727 3333
National University Cancer Institute Singapore — 9722 0569
Alternatively, you may visit Singapore Cancer Society’s Satellite Offices and Centres:
SCS Satellite Office @ NCISNational University Hospital, Medical Centre1 Lower Kent Ridge Road, Level 9, Unit D2Singapore 119082Opening hours: Mondays to Friday 9.00AM to 5.00PMSCS Satellite Office @ NCCSNational Cancer Centre Singapore11 Hospital DriveSingapore 169610Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 8.30AM to 5.00PMSCS Clinic @ BishanJunction 8 Office Tower9 Bishan Place, #06-05Singapore 579837Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 8.30AM to 6.00PM/ Saturdays, 8.30AM to 4.00PMSCS Cancer Rehabilitation CentreJEM Office Tower52 Jurong Gateway Road, #08-04Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9.00AM to 6.00PM/ Saturdays, 9.00AM to 1.00PM
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