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November 2018

National University Cancer Institute, Singapore Launches a Number of Services to Improve Quality of Care for Patients

Reports on NCIS launching a number of services to improve the quality of care, providing additional care for geriatric cancer patients and providing door-to-door care for stem cell transplant patients. 

They interviewed Mr. Yeo Wee Lee, the first patient who enrolled for the Outpatient Stem Cell Transplant + Home Monitoring. He spoke that the home care service is much more convenient because he does not need to travel, queue in the hospital and reduces risk of contracting hospital bugs. The recovery process at home is better and more comfortable, with nurses checking on him three times a week. 

NCIS will also be launching the NCIS Cancer app for in Q2 next year. Equipped with Artificial Intelligence a chatbot, it aims to provide support for cancer patients for all their cancer-related needs. It will be rolled out first for breast and colorectal cancer patients. Prof Chng Wee Joo, Director of NCIS, said that the application can follow a patient’s entire treatment process and provide information at any time through chatbot. He added, “Patients have questions now and then, and they get worried when they could not find the answers. They have to wait to ask their doctors at the next consultation which they may forget when the time comes. With the chat bot, they can now get an answer anytime anywhere.”  

NCIS also launched a Geriatric Oncology Clinic in September 2018 which will assess elder patients more accurately so that they can provide better patient care. The Acute Cancer Care Unit, which was launched in January 2018, hopes to reduce the number of cases that will require patients to be hospitalised. If a patient’s condition is not serious, the nurses would administer treatment at the Acute Cancer Care Unit for a few hours before being discharged.

These were announced at the NCIS 10th Anniversary gala dinner yesterday. Over $700,000 was raised for the NCIS Cancer Fund which helps needy cancer patients and funds cancer research and education.  


启动癌细胞死亡受体 国大发现黑色素皮肤癌新疗法 (NUS discovers new treatment for skin cancer)

After five years of research, NUS researchers led by Professor Carlos Ibanez have discovered a small man-made molecule that can activate a receptor in the cell membrane to “kill” tumour cells in melanoma skin cancer, controlling the growth of the cancer cells. Current treatments available are only effective on 55 per cent of patients but Professor Ibanez believed that if the experiment on the micromolecule succeeds, it would be beneficial in treating melanoma skin cancer. 


Plain Packaging Planned for Cigarettes

Article on the Ministry of Health’s new measures to have all tobacco products use the same plain packaging, with an aim to reduce Singapore’s smoking prevalence rate.


Professor Teo Yik Ying, Dean of the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said that strict laws on sales and advertisements here mean that the product packaging is ‘one of the last frontiers’ for tobacco firms to market themselves and that standardised packaging is a message that smoking is heavily discouraged. Prof Teo also adds that this must not be used in isolation and must complement existing tobacco measures.


Professor Chia Kee Seng of the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, also commented that despite the smoking rate falling from 23 percent to 12 percent to 14 percent, the rate has remained stagnant for more than a decade. This means smokers who die are being replaced by new smokers, which shows more needs to be done to discourage people from taking up smoking. Therefore, the target is to stop younger people from picking up the habit as people who do not start smoking by the age of 25 do not become smokers.



October 2018

癌症与心脑血管疾病有何关联 (What is the relationship between cancer and cardiovascular disease)

Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the top two killer diseases in Singapore. Prof Tan Huay Cheem, Director of NUHCS shared that many clinical studies have shown a certain relationship between the two diseases, such as common risk factors and how they affect each other during treatment the process. Cardiovascular risk factors for cancer occurrence can be generally divided into controllable and uncontrollable categories. Controllable factors include smoking, hyperlipidaemia, hypertension, and diabetes, while the uncontrollable factors include age, gender and ethnicity. 


Alexandra Hospital to open new facilities increase number of beds

Alexandra Hospital which was taken over by the National University Health System (NUHS) in June, plans to open new facilities and increase its 176 beds to around 300 by 2020 to cater to an expected growth in demand from the Queenstown area. Associate Professor Jason Phua, Chief Executive Officer, Alexandra Hospital, said that even before the team took over the hospital they had already surveyed the many residents in the Queenstown area to understand how they could better meet the needs of the healthcare needs of the community.


Ageing well and staying healthy

Straits Times senior health correspondent Salma Khalik spoke to stakeholders in the health industry on making private-sector healthcare more accessible, changing organisational policies to support seniors, and looking beyond the retirement age. This was part of the Straits Times-AIA Roundtable on "Managing Singapore's Health with an Ageing Population: What more needs to be done?" Professor Chia Kee Seng, an epidemiologist at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, who was part of the panel said the tendency was to focus on the current aged and see all the problems they pose but that the conversation needed to be enlarged to include younger people who will age in future. 


Indians at Heart Risk

A contributed article by Dr Devinder Singh, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, NUHCS, about cardiac arrhythmias and how Indians are more at risk of stroke associated with atrial fibrillation. The article also explains the cardiovascular system to help readers understand how cardiac arrhythmias occur.


Doctors too trigger-happy with antimicrobials?

A government study involving spanning 13 public and private hospitals found the use of antimicrobials here “surprisingly high”, where more than half the patients in acute hospitals were on one or more antimicrobials. Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang who heads the Infectious Diseases Programme at NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH), and a member of the study team, said one in two is an astoundingly high number compared to European hospitals, which have one in three hospitalised patients on such drugs.    


Hospital patients at risk of catching an infection

A comprehensive study involving 5,415 adult patients from 13 acute hospitals and commissioned by the Ministry of Health found that 11.9 percent of the patients, or more than one in nine, caught an infection while being treated for other conditions. About one in four of the affected had an infection in their bloodstream, while a similar number had pneumonia. Seven percent of such healthcare associated infections were caused by bacteria resistant to conventional antibiotics. Associate Professor Hsu Li Yang who heads the Infectious Diseases Programme at NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH), and a member of the study team, added that this meant that more toxic and less effective antibiotics had to be employed.    



September 2018

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

According to MOH, cardiovascular disease is one of the top causes of death in Singapore, claiming 17 lives every day. Dr Low Ting Ting, consultant at NUHCS shared on ways to reduce risk of developing cardiovascular-disease.


Activities with plants can boost the elderly’s well-being: Study

A NUS Medicine study by Associate Professor Roger Ho from the Department of Psychological Medicine has found that joining a guided group activity involving plants reduces a type of component in the blood associated with inflammatory diseases, such as depression, dementia and cancer. Such activities also help maintain levels of another component that supports the brain and prevents it from degenerating.


"The main implication of this study is that the elderly can use various parks in Singapore as therapeutic venues and conduct therapeutic horticulture, which has a biological effect on their bodies to prevent chronic diseases," said Assoc Prof Ho, the study's principal investigator. 


亚历山大医院医护人员与病患亲手制月饼度佳节(Team from Alexandra Hospital Makes Mooncakes with Inpatients to Celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival)

Alexandra Hospital celebrated Mid-Autum Festival and taught inpatients to make their own snowskin mooncakes.   Occupational Therapist, Max Lim explained, “Making mooncakes not only hones cognitive abilities, but also trains both upper limbs, to prevent muscle and cognitive loss and degeneration. Additionally, such group activities, also create opportunities for social interaction which drives away bed-bound boredom.”

Alexandra Hospital’s inpatients are mostly seniors in age and with a few being single-dwellers and may not have visitors. Max added, “Besides boosting patients’ physical confidence to get back on their feet and lead their normal lives and routine when discharged, we are also encouraging them in the emotional aspect, to help them feel more empowered.  When reaching out to them, our tone of voice and willingness and patience to listen to them are paramount.”   

典型心脏病儿时已‘有迹可循 (Typical heart disease can be traced at a younger age)

According to statistics from WHO’s website, Ischemic heart disease and stroke have claimed the most lives in the world. Professor Tan Huay Cheem, Director, National University Heart Centre, Singapore, answers questions about heart attack and stroke.


Remembering Alexandra Hospital’s rich heritage

NUHS officially launched a heritage wall at the hospital late last month – a project that started about five months ago before NUHS took over from Sengkang Hospital as the site’s occupant in June. The wall was designed to celebrate the hospital’s 80th anniversary and to raise public awareness about its rich heritage.

Associate Professor Jason Phua (Chief Executive Officer of Alexandra Hospital) comments on how NUHS is working closely with MOH and the National Heritage board to examine “how best to preserve the historical heritage of the Alexandra Campus.” He adds that the hospital will conduct environment impact studies and engage various parties on architectural conservation. “It is one of the oldest sites still serving as a hospital and we will want to maintain its healthcare heritage…At the same time, we want to examine ways to intensify its use to better serve the community.”

Bianca Boh (Strategic Communications Staff) who is working on the project comments on how the whole exercise has been very meaningful in honouring the building’s past.

More men than women in Singapore have chronic conditions: MOH survey

The MOH pilot National Population Health Survey 2016/17 shows more men are overweight and have high blood pressure and cholesterol. The survey of more than 3,000 people found that 43 per cent of men aged between 18 and 69 were either obese or overweight, compared with 29 per cent of women.

Compared to the 2010 National Health Survey, the number of adults with high blood pressure went up from 18.9 per cent to 21.5 per cent while those with high cholesterol levels rose from 25.2 per cent to 33.6 per cent.

Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Dr Chia Shi-Lu, head of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health said the value of such surveys increases as more is done for a longitudinal comparison. A follow-up survey for 2018/2019 has just started. Prof Teo added that a breakdown by age group would give a better picture of the health of people here. 

Free healthcare screenings for residents of rental flats to include more checks

The Neighbourhood Health Service, started by medical students from the National University of Singapore Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in 2007, brings health screening programmes to the doorsteps of rental flat residents throughout Singapore.

Previously, residents were screened for health issues such as chronic diseases, cancer and dental and vision problems. From this year, they will also have mental health checks for depression and hearing tests and be taught how to avoid falls.

"The students had decided to expand this year's screening efforts to cover a wider range of clinical conditions as they found that residents living in HDB rental blocks are four times less likely than the average Singaporean to go for regular health check-ups," said Associate Professor Gerald Koh of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at NUS, referring to a 2009 study.     

跨国研究:加大化疗强度血癌童治愈率提高至九成 (Multinational Research: Stronger chemotherapy raises cure rates for child leukemia by 90%)

The study, jointly conducted by NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine and University of Malaysia, together with NUH, KKH and two Malaysian hospitals, was completed in 8 years and involved 346 children in both countries with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).


About 20% of children with ALL have a more than double chance of relapse due to the absence of the Ikaros gene. The team of researchers raised cure rate from 70% to more than 90% and reduced relapse rate from 30% to 13% with intensified chemotherapy treatment in this group of children.


A/Prof Allen Yeoh said “Through bone marrow tests, we identified these children who do not have the Ikaros gene, intensified their chemotherapy dose, and the results were very good.” He added, “At present, these children are receiving the highest dose of chemotherapy. The research team will continue to look for new treatment options, such as immunotherapy and other safer options… our ultimate goal is to help them recover fully.”   



August 2018

高素质低成本 国大医学组织作业方式获卓越奖 (High-quality, low-cost NUHS methodology wins National Medical Excellence Award)

NUHS’ Value Driven Outcomes methodology has won the National Clinical Team Award at the NMEA 2018. The method of improving value through data has been adopted by the Ministry of Health and has been extended to other regional health systems. In future, patients will receive high quality medical services at affordable cost across all public hospitals in Singapore.

Implemented two years ago in NUH and NTFGH, the “high-quality, low-cost” framework has resulted in $11 million in savings last year through cost avoidance and reducing unnecessary diagnostic test.  

Associate Professor James Yip, Group Chief Value Officer, NUHS, said that by tracking data every month and informing the management and doctors about the what can be improved or simplified, they can reduce the amount of wastage if the patients do not necessarily need so many antibiotics or blood tests.

Associate Professor Patrick Tseng, senior consultant, NUCOHS and Associate Professor Chen Fun Gee, Director, Division of Graduate Medical Studies, NUSMed, were also mentioned as winners of the National Outstanding Clinician Award and National Outstanding Clinician Educator Award respectively.  


同个病房治急症做复健 亚历山大医院采新医疗护理模式 (Same-ward care from acute to rehabilitative care)

AH’s new care model involves “same-bed, one-care-team”  where patients are cared for from acute to rehabilitative care at one –stop  without the need to transfer to a community hospital.  

This is following a generalist-led, specialist-reinforced model of care where the same principal physician and his or her multidisciplinary care team looks after a patient with multiple chronic conditions.  This saves time, consult costs and raises the quality of consultation and doctor-patient relationship. 

CEO A/P Jason Phua said: "We cannot be content with a hospital that merely looks inwards and focuses on episodic admissions. Instead Alexandra Hospital will be a health empowering environment which provides holistic, team-based care across the entire care continuum and into the home.”


New painless jaundice test for newborns in polyclinics

Newborns who are two weeks old or younger with jaundice are now tested at the National University Polyclinics (NUP) using Transcutaneous Bilirubin (TcB) measurement – a non-invasive and painless jaundice screening method. Blood tests through heel pricks would no longer be necessary for most of these babies, saving them much discomfort and reducing parents’ stress and anxiety. Time taken for the TcB measurement is also much shorter. This TcB initiative is a collaboration with NUH’s Department of Neonatology, which has been using TcB measurements since 2010.


More regular foot checks for diabetics

Article talks about what polyclinics are doing to catch diabetic foot problems early and prevent amputations. Mr Tan Liang Sheng, senior podiatrist from Bukit Batok Polyclinic, NUP, shares about what the polyclinic does to make it more convenient for patients to attend the diabetic eye and foot screening sessions, what his role entails and what some of the challenges are in trying to change patient behaviour.


早报悦读@NLB第13场:医学给陈淮沁带來使命 (Prof Tan Huay Cheem – Medicine is his mission)

Prof Tan Huay Cheem, Director of NUHCS, shared his medical journey at the 早报悦读@NLB event on 3 August.


心脏疾病者快步走骑脚踏车游泳也可适当运动 (Brisk walking, cycling, swimming suitable for heart patients)

Asst Prof Yeo Tee Joo, NUHCS, shared that exercise has been shown to reduce hospitalisation rates, disease recurrence and even mortality in those who have heart disease. Heart patients should seek advice from their healthcare providers or cardiologist on suitability for exercise.


均衡饮食糖尿病远离 (Keep diabetes away with a balanced diet)

Prof Tan Huay Cheem, Director, NUHCS, feels that if 70% of the 400,000 diabetic patients die of cardiovascular diseases, we should be paying more attention to, and adopt measures to control and prevent diabetes. Lim Su Mei, Dietician, NUHCS, shared
that one of the common problems diabetic patient faces is knowing the appropriate portion of food especially in regard to carbohydrates. The challenge increases for one who eats out often as excessive carbohydrate intake often leads to high blood sugar levels.



In part two of the article on the nutritional content of durian, Ms Chow Li Ming, Dietician, NUP, highlights the groups of people with certain conditions who should avoid eating durian, and shares tips on how to control our intake.


榴梿不宜多吃: 10核相等于一碗白饭

Ms Chow Li Ming, Dietitian, NUP, shares about the nutritional content of durian an the importance of eating it in moderation. 



July 2018

为和会得舌癌(Tongue Cancer)

Dr Lim Chwee Ming, Senior Consultant, Divison of Surgical Oncology, NCIS, shared about causes, symptoms and treatment of tongue cancer.  


陈淮沁医生分享行医之路 (Prof Tan Huay Cheem shares his path of medical practice)

陈淮沁医生分享行医之路 (Prof Tan Huay Cheem shares his path of medical practice)

陈淮沁出版医学书从“心”出发 (Prof Tan Huay Cheem published medical books on ‘heart’)

Prof Tan, Director of NUHCS, shared his medical journey at the 早报悦读@NLB event. He has published two Chinese books, focusing on prevention and treatment of heart disease. 

临终护理温暖 最后一程写意 (Warmth of end-of-life care)

Dr Noreen Chan from NCIS was one of the doctors interviewed on end-of-life care. She shared that the focus of our medical system is usually the patient’s ‘body’, neglecting the spiritual and emotional needs. She said many times the medication is not in the bottle but in relationships, in positive words and encouragement.” She added that many times patients do not need the many medical tests and treatments. Conversations are more important and is the beginning of providing quality care.     


女性高血糖问题 与心脏病关系何在

Prof Tan Huay Cheem from NUHCS shared that women generally do not have heart diseases before menopause due to estrogen in their bodies. However, this is not the case for diabetic patients.  Women with diabetes lose the protection from estrogen.        



Prof Tan Huay Cheem’s mother died of heart disease when he was in medical school and this has made him determined to specialise in cardiology. He is now a professor at NUS medical school and the director of NUHCS. He teaches and writes book and is also a visiting professor teaching in China every month. Prof Tan will share his medical journey at 早报悦读@NLB on 3 August.    



Patients who are unwell could, in the future, be chatting with software that can assess their conditions and advise them to visit the right hospital or clinic. By the end of this year, a list of chatbot technology providers will be made available to healthcare professionals, IHiS said at the 10th edition of the annual National Health IT Summit at Singapore Expo yesterday.

Dr Ngiam Kee Yuan, NUHS’ group chief technology officer said NUHS has developed related apps. The myHEROsg app developed by NUS students has been on trial for a while. The chatbot can help assess users’ condition and advise them to visit a family doctor or the hospital emergency department. About 500 participated in the trial and further tests will be conducted in the next 6 to 9 months for deeper analysis to improve overall reliability.


Precision Medicine Gives Cancer Patients Hope

A programme by the National University Cancer Institute Singapore (NCIS) is helping to match cancer patients with certain genetic profiles to early-phase clinical trials of new drugs. More than 200 patients comprising Singapore residents and foreigners have agreed to undergo genetic testing, under the expanded Integrated Molecular Analysis of Cancer Programme, according to Dr David Tan, consultant at NCIS' Department of Haematology-Oncology, and the lead investigator. The NCIS has been working with molecular insights company Foundation Medicine, a subsidiary of Roche, since May last year to screen patients' tumours for abnormalities in 315 genes to match them to suitable trials.Dr Tan added that the programme gives patients access to drugs which are not yet on the market, and provides them with targeted treatment.


基因统计学家张毅颖教授: 糖尿病不单单是健康问题

Almost everyone may have diabetes, and fighting diabetes is one of the most concerned public health topics today. Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore, said that the issue of diabetes cannot be viewed solely from the perspective of medicine.  

Diabetes is not just a personal health problem, but is closely related to the whole environment – economics, urban planning, food and nutrition marketing, etc.  


岗位有变 仁心依旧

Mdm Chua Chew Tee, a digital archival assistant from Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic, National University Polyclinics, was an award recipient of the Healthcare Humanity Awards in April this year.  While her primary duty mainly involves scanning of medical documents in patient records, Chew Tee goes the extra mile to assist patients when necessary. One such incident was when she assisted a patient who accidentally soiled himself while waiting for his turn in the polyclinic. Seeing that the patient was alone, she attended to the patient, accompanying and aiding him while he washed up. Her efforts were recognised by many patients, and she received the Healthcare Humanity Awards together with 92 other recipients.


Harnessing AI to give health sector a shot in the arm

Smart tools and new technology to tackle challenges in healthcare such as facial recognition and artificial intelligence (AI) were showcased at an expo organised by jointly by NUHS, the National University of Singapore, AI Singapore and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A new AI system call Discovery AI was launched by NUHS. Dr Ngiam Kee Yuan, Group Chief Technology Officer, NUHS, commented that AI could augment the work of Singapore's healthcare workforce and enhance doctors' ability to make better decisions. Using hospital data, the system can perform tasks, including the diagnosis of appendicitis in those with complaints of stomach pain, and even predict the risk of readmission in patients who have been hospitalised for various medical conditions. Dr Feng Mengling, Assistant Professor, NUS SSHSPH, is also conducting research on an AI tool that can suss out abnormalities in mammograms. If rolled out, he said, the tool could improve the productivity of radiologists fourfold. 


能真正“对症下药” -- 精准医学计划首阶段分析排列万人基因

Precision medicine allows doctors to prescribe the best form of treatment for patients, especially cancer patients, based on their genes and physiological conditions. Yet, it is important for MOH to strike a balance between investing in research on new diagnostic tools and genomic analysis for precision medicine. The 15-person committee to lead the National Precision Medicine Program was established earlier this year. The research is to conduct whole genome sequencing for 10,000 people.

Prof Chng Wee Joo, Director of NCIS and member of the steering committee was quoted in the article. He shared that the cost of gene sequencing has gone down and advanced technology has enabled whole genome sequencing which could help in identification of gene mutation. This would allow patients to receive more targeted treatment.  



June 2018

MOH seeks measures to curb spread of infectious diseases

The Ministry of Health (MOH) wants more powers to curb the spread of infectious diseases here, including stopping individuals who break quarantine from leaving the country, turning back visitors with a high risk of yellow fever without first offering vaccination, and carrying out surveillance remotely to track cases and carriers of infectious diseases or their contacts. Associate Professor Alex Cook, Vice Dean (Research), NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health commented that modern surveillance using calls or video calls would allow more potential contacts to be screened than a traditional in-person examination.

How buyers can be duped by food labels

Marketing buzzwords may lead consumers to over-infer the nutritional value of an item. Some experts say that it is easy for consumers to fall into the trap of believing that a processed food item is better for you than it actually is, especially when it is marketed as a healthier option. Assistant Professor Mary Chong, from the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health added her comments by mentioning that processed convenience food products often use healthy foods as their core ingredients such as oats in granola bars, hence, the persistent association of these products with their health qualities.


Put teeth into oral healthcare management

Professor Patrick Finbarr Allen, Director, National University Centre for Oral Health, Singapore, (NUCOHS) and Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry, National University of Singapore contributed an article about oral health in Singapore and the need to go beyond treatment to preventive efforts to root out decay that could cause severe illness.


照顾病患义工 益己暖人 (Patient Volunteers : Caring for others, benefiting self)

Jenny (cancer survivor) and Alice (caregiver) shared their positive experience as volunteers with the NCIS Befrienders Programme. Dr Choo Bok Ai, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, NCIS shared that there are many ways which one can volunteer, from raising awareness, providing care to supporting activities for patients. Volunteers can also be part of the Dream Makes Programme launched in April, which aims to help cancer patients fulfil their dreams.


普遍采用问诊预约系统 综合诊疗所等候时间五年减三成 (Polyclinics’ waiting time has dropped 30% in 5 years with the use of appointment system)

Despite the increase in patient numbers, patients’ median waiting time for consultation at the polyclinics has decreased from 20 minutes in 2013 to 14 minutes in 2017 over the last five years. The polyclinics have introduced appointment systems from 2013 and patients with appointments need only to reach the polyclinics 15 minutes earlier. At the NUP, overall wait time has improved, especially with the use of self-registration kiosks and its efforts in educating and encouraging patients to make an appointment prior to their visits.


Why a health policy banning e-cigarettes is an act of prudence

In response to an opinion editorial titled ‘Why a ban on e-cigarettes may not be the best policy’, Professor Teo Yik Ying wrote that the ban on the sale, import, use and possession of e-cigarettes is a responsible, calibrated and prudent approach in formulating public health policies, considering what we currently know and do not know about e-cigarettes. Citing Dengvaxia as an example, Prof Teo cautioned against embracing healthcare innovations indiscriminately, especially in situations where the benefits and costs are unclear. However, he also shared that policymakers should be open-minded to modify current policies when new data emerges. In this case, we should continue to monitor global evidence towards e-cigarettes and be ready to revise our policy on e-cigarettes prohibition when there is data to suggest otherwise.


到综合诊疗所求诊 最怕‘等久久’ 榜鹅需等21分钟 白沙最快3分钟 卫生部网站数据 (Concern about long waiting time at polyclinics; waiting time at Punggol Polyclinic 21 minutes; Pasir Ris, 3 minutes)

Punggol Polyclinic’s median waiting time of 21 minutes is the longest across all polyclinics in Singapore  in April; Pasir Ris’ waiting time is the shortest at 3 minutes. With the use of appointment systems, waiting time has dropped from 20 minutes in 2013 to 14 minutes over the last five years. Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic patient, Mdm Tan used to wait for 2-3 hours in the past but with an appointment, she is now able to see the doctor and get her medicine within an hour.


鳄梨有益脑和眼 (Avocados are beneficial for eye and brain health)

In part two of the article on the health benefits and different ways of eating avocados, NUP’s Senior Dietitian, Lynette Goh shared a simple and healthy avocado recipe.


鳄梨 好处多吃法多! (Avocados – their many health benefits and the different ways of eating them)

NUP’s Senior Dietitian, Lynette Goh talked about the many health benefits of eating avocados, the different ways of doing so and groups of people who should refrain from eating avocados.


Cancer Survivors can have check-ups nearer to home

An article on how cancer survivors can soon go to family doctors for follow up care. By July, NCIS will be sending breast and colorectal cancer survivors to selected GPs in the NUHS primary care network such as NUP, Keat Hong and Frontier Family Medicine Clinics for routine cancer care. 

Dr. Chan Ching Wan, Senior Consultant, Division of Surgical Oncology (Breast Surgery), NCIS, mentions that in the future, cancer may well be treated like a chronic condition once the acute phase of treatment is over, which is why engagement of primary care physicians for future care patients is important.

Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director of NCIS, mentions that to address whether GPs are adequately trained to identify signs of relapse, NCIS will train and accredit the GPs and establish a fast-track referral system back to the oncologist.  

Treatment over but anxiety remains

An article with cancer survivors on   how they still have anxiety about cancer despite completing their treatment. Madam N. Pushphavalli, a cancer survivor who was treated at NCIS, mentions that when she sees a rash or lump, she will keep monitoring it for four to five days to observe if it gets bigger or skin around it gets thicker. She has to also go through various lifestyle changes and have to go for many test and check-ups.  

US findings may help breast cancer patients here avoid chemo

An article about how breast cancer patients in Singapore can avoid chemotherapy after surgery in some early-stage cases. Dr Andrea Wong, Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, said that the Oncotype DX, which is a test that assess the need for chemotherapy in patients, has been available in public hospitals here for six years. In Singapore, it is already routinely recommended foe eligible patients.  


May 2018

Brachytheraphy - Targeting the enemy from within

A contributed article by Dr. Vicky Koh, Consultant, Department of Radiation Oncology, NCIS, about how Brachytheraphy is a treatment that requires a radio-emitting source to be placed within close proximity to its target. Although used since the early 1900s, today’s technology assist doctors with the use of advanced imaging techniques. Brachytheraphy can be used to cure many type of cancers such as breast, cervical and prostate cancer.


公共泳池游泳 易感染手足口症? / 手足口症症状消失后 仍能传染他人

公共泳池游泳 易感染手足口症? / 手足口症症状消失后 仍能传染他人

Dr Ruth Zheng, Family Physician Consultant, National University Polyclinics, provided expert comments on Hand Foot Mouth Disease, if it easy to contract Hand Foot Mouth Disease while swimming in public pools and if people infected with Hand Foot Mouth Disease may still be contagious after symptoms disappear.


国大研究高血压新药 注入一次免吃药一个月

Researchers from the NUS Medicine showed that Galectin-1, a protein in our body, influences the function of another protein known as L-type (Cav1.2) calcium channel found on the arteries that normally acts to contract the blood vessels. By reducing the activity of these calcium channels, Galectin-1 is able to lower blood pressure. The research was published online in the April 2018 issue of Circulation. This study was led by Professor Soong Tuck Wah from the Department of Physiology together with Dr Hu Zhenyu, the lead author of the study.


Associate Professor James Yip, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology at the National University Heart Centre, Singapore, said that, “calcium channel blockers (CCB) are the most popular class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure because of their good side effect profile and their efficacy. However, many patients are troubled by side effects like leg swelling. Galectin-1-specific drugs has the potential for improved control with less side effects.” 





When conventional cancer treatment doesn’t work on kids

The article is contributed by Dr Tan Poh Lin, discusses new treatment for young cancer patients when conventional cancer treatment does not work on them. She explains that new treatments that are being tested in clinical trials include high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplants, immunotherapy and targeted therapy, all of which are being evaluated for the cancer that one of her patient had.


The Straits Times, 15 May 2018, B9

Study may change care of heart patients

Doctors can now identify heart failure patients who are likely to survive longer with proper care, thanks to a study carried out in Singapore and New Zealand. The results of the research, which looked at different types of the condition, could change the way up to one in three heart failure patients is cared for. The seven-year study of more than 2,000 patients found that the ejection fraction - the amount of blood pumped out when the heart contracts - is the deciding factor. Close to one in three patients has preserved ejection fraction, which is now known to result in longer-term survival. Their hearts squeeze well, but do not relax so well - meaning less blood gets in. The study also identified levels of a hormone in the blood produced by the heart as a powerful and independent predictor of death, regardless of the type of heart failure. Knowing that people with preserved ejection fraction have a better chance of survival, doctors may work harder to lower the level of this hormone in such patients. Professor Mark Richards, a key researcher in the study, and Director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute at the National University Health System said that it is often difficult for doctors and patients to accept the number of drugs - usually three - needed to get the patient to the ideal level, especially when the patient feels fine. He said the results mean doctors can now be more confident when they prescribe drugs. Professor Tan Huay Cheem, Director of the National University Heart Centre, Singapore added that information from the study will affect service and care, as well as planning and budgeting for hospitals.


The Straits Times, 8 May 2018, Page B2

Doc why am I so short of Breath?

A contributed article by Professor A Mark Richards, Director, CVRI of the NUHCS on how the diagnostic tool, NT-proBNP blood test is an accurate test for detecting heart failure.  Heart failure is a serious problem which can respond well to treatment if it is recognised early, and managed quickly and properly. But, heart failure can be hard to recognize. Prof Richards is the discoverer of NT-proBNP and his study has shown that the diagnostic tool, the NT-proBNP blood test, which helps accelerate detection and proper management of heart failure here in Asia, even more effectively than in western countries.


The Straits Times, 1 May 2018, Page B7


April 2018

为完成临终病患心愿 医生设义工小组获仁心奖

Dr Choo Bok Ai, Senior Consultant, Department of Radiation-Oncology, NCIS was featured in this article and he shared about how his encounter with a cervical cancer patient with two young children four years ago, motivated him to set up “Dream Makers” project to help terminally ill cancer patients fulfilled their wishes.

Dr Choo is among the recipients of the “Honourable Mention” award at the Healthcare Humanity Awards 2018.


Lianhe Zaobao, 30 April 2018, Page 9


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Childhood Obesity and the Indian kid

A contributed article by Dr Senthil Subbian, Consultant, Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery, NUHCS, about how childhood obesity could lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, serious heart disease and sleep disorders. Dr. Senthil encourages parents to get their children to consume a well-balanced meal as well as at least 60 minutes of intense physical activity every day.


Tabla!, 27 April 2018, Page 12


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New Dean Appointed for NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

The National University of Singapore has announced the appointment of A/Prof Chong Yap Seng as the 17th Dean of the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine (NUS Medicine) from 1 January 2019. He succeeds A/Prof Yeoh Khay Guan, who will be assuming full-time duties as the Deputy Chief Executive of the National University Health System of which the School is a founding institution. A/Prof Chong is Vice-Dean (Academic Medicine) at NUS Medicine, and concurrently Senior Consultant in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the National University Hospital. He is also the Executive Director of the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).


The Straits Times, 26 April 2018, Page B4


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Couple with Colorectal Cancer Prompt Study by S’pore Team

NCIS colorectal cancer patients, Madam Phang Yoke Fah and Mr Lie Tjoen-Jong,  were diagnosed with colorectal cancer within a year of each other, prompting future research to see if genetics or environmental factors are to blame.

Dr. Tan Ker Kan, Consultant at the Division of Surgical Oncology (Colorectal Surgery), NCIS, lead author of the study, mentioned that some of the well-established risk factors of colorectal cancer included unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits. With majority of colorectal cancer patients in their late 60s to early 80s, these lifestyles would be shared with their spouses since their marriage. Both Dr. Tan and Mr. Lie strongly encouraged early colorectal cancer screening, with the Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Report 2015 showing the morality rate of colorectal cancer decreased due to early detection and advances in treatment.  


The Straits Times, 2 April 2018, Page A3


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March 2018

Early Screening Key to Colorectal Cancer Detection

A contributed article by Dr. Raghav Sundar, Associate Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology NCIS, about how early screening is important to colorectal cancer detection. 


Tabla!, 30 March 2018, Page 11


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Fighting cancer through awareness and screening

The NCIS 10 Ribbon Challenge event on 24 March 2018 and showcased NCIS entered the Singapore Book of Records by collecting 10,125 ribbon pledges in support of cancer patients. Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director of NCIS, spoke about how the pledge of 10,000 ribbons was a way to show support to the fight against cancer and importantly, not only to educate the public on cancer, but also to get them and their families to pledge to go for early cancer screening.  


The Business Times, 28 March 2018, Pg. 38

Ageing one possible factor that may cause cancer

A two part contributed article by Dr. Angela Pang, Consultant at the Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS.

Part one,  老化是致癌因素之一, shares about geriatric oncology and the relationship between ageing and cancer. Part two, 根据年龄筛检癌症, shares about cancer screening, the recommended HPB screening guidelines and the risk factors of cancer. 


Guidance and support key to beating cancer in old age

A contributed article by Dr Angela Pang, medical oncology consultant at the Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, spoke about how proper guidance and support from a dedicated healthcare team and family members are important in helping the elderly who are diagnosed with cancer.  


The Straits Times, 20 March 2018, Page. B11

Vital to check for colorectal cancer: Doctor

Dr Chee Cheng Ean, consultant at the department of Haematology-Oncology at NCIS, spoke about how young people can also get colorectal cancer due to diet and lifestyle. However, despite the increase in cases, morality rate has dropped due to the advancement in treatments and screening. Dr. Chee also spoke about the misconception of cancer and its symptoms, saying that there are no symptoms in the early stages of colorectal cancer.  


The New Paper, 19 March 2018, Page 15

Faster, affordable care at clinic for chronic conditions

A clinic offering affordable and faster care has been a boon for Choa Chu Kang residents with chronic conditions since it opened in April last year. Keat Hong Family Medicine Clinic, officially opened on 15 March 2018, helps patients manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and also provides physiotherapy, ultrasound scans and health screenings. The clinic sees nearly 1,500 patients every month, 60 per cent of whom have chronic conditions. Besides walk-in patients, it also gets patients who are referred by a hospital or polyclinic. Close to 2,500 patients have chosen to have their cases transferred there from the nearby Choa Chu Kang polyclinic. The clinic is funded by MOH and in care partnership with the National University Health System.


The Straits Times, 15 March 2018, Home News Page B3


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New drug a boost for blood cancer patients

Professor Chng Wee Joo, Director of NCIS shared that a new drug for multiple myeloma will be cheaper and increased survival rates for myeloma patients. He explained that the new drug is currently only approved for relapse treatment, its side effects are relatively small, to a certain extent, to maintain the quality of life, the price is also cheaper and increased survival rates for patients. The NCIS is currently conducting a new clinical trial to add another cheaper drug to the carfilzomib-containing drug combination, hoping to further lower prices and help patients cope with high medical costs in the future.



February 2018

Unlocking Secrets To Longevity

According to the Department of Statistics (DOS), there were 1,200 Singaporeans aged 100 and above as of last June. The proportion of centenarians among Singaporeans has surged by 18 times from 1990. 


What accounts for Singaporeans’ longevity? Research is ongoing in what else plays a role, besides factors such as medical advances in disease treatment, and accessibility to good medical care.


The SG90 Longevity Study, a 10-year study by A*Star and the National University Health System (NUHS) involving about 1,500 Singaporeans aged 90 and above, has found though women tend on the whole to live longer than men, Singaporean men appear to be healthier in old age than Singaporean women. Preliminary results of the study found Singaporean men were less likely to have impaired cognition (30 per cent, compared with 39 per cent in women) and more likely to be independent in their daily activities (47 per cent compared with 34 per cent in women). More men had a positive outlook on their health, and were less depressed than women.


The Straits  Times, 16 Feb Page B6


Getting red in the face may be a red flag

Asian flush condition, the genetic predisposition to turning red in the face after alcohol is consumed, affects one in three Singaporeans, and is associated with an increased risk in cancer. 

Dr Kim Guo Wei, associate consultant at NCIS’ Division of Surgical Oncology (Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery), says affected people lack an enzyme to metabolise alcohol completely, leading carcinogenic compounds to remain in the body. Dr Ong Lizhen, consultant in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at NUH says such patients are subject to a higher risk of gastrointestinal cancers should they continue to consume alcohol.



January 2018

New polyclinic serves more Jurong residents

Pioneer Polyclinic was officially opened by Minister Gan Kim Yong, Minister for Health on Saturday, 27 January 2018. With this new polyclinic, residents of Jurong West now have more convenient access to quality care closer to their homes. An art mural, a collaboration between NUP and its community partners, was unveiled, and a Kids’ Work Experience programme was conducted to expose young children to the various jobs and roles in healthcare. Mr Cedric Foo, Adviser, Pioneer GROs and Mr Patrick Tay, Adviser, Boon Lay GROs also attended the Official Opening.


  • The Straits Times, 28 January 2018, pA15
  • The Straits Times, 27 January 2018, pA2
  • Lianhe Zaobao, 28, January 2018, p4
  • Shin Min Daily, 28 January 2018, p4
  • Tamil Murasu, 28 January 2018, p2
  • CNA Singapore Tonight, 27 January 2018
  • Channel 5 TV News, 27 January 2018
  • Channel  8 News Tonight, 27 January 2018
  • Suria TV News, 27 January 2018
  • Vasantham TV News, 27 January 2018
  • 938Now, 27 January 2018
  • Capital958, 27 January 2018
  • WarnaFM, 28 January 2018

远程医疗 现状与未来发展

This is the second part of the article written by Professor Tan Huay Cheem, Director, NUHCS, on the growth of telemedicine. Through remote monitoring, patients with atrial fibrillation can do a blood test on their own and transmit the results by mobile phone to the hospital. The trained nurses will guide them in terms of adjusting the medication dosage. This helps to reduce the need for the patients to make the trip to the hospital and enhances patients’ satisfaction.  Tele monitoring also helps patients to control hypertension, and reduces re-admission rate. Patients with implanted pacemakers can also do follow-up through a special remote monitor, transmit data to the hospital’s monitoring centre for their cardiologists to monitor. 


Watching children grow up with GUSTO

Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes, or GUSTO, was launched in 2009, with the help of 1,247 babies and mothers. Led by researchers in the National University Health System, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research’s Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences, GUSTO is one of the most detailed birth cohort studies in the world. The study has since yielded 169 papers published in scientific journals, and its findings have changed national health policy. Associate Professor Chong Yap Seng, who leads the study, shared insights on the establishment of the study, its challenges and future plans for the study.



The article is written by Professor Tan Huay Cheem, Director, NUHCS, on how technology has allowed for the growth of telemedicine, where health practitioners can treat patients through the Internet and remote monitoring. In the management of heart disease, patients could use mobile apps to determine medical conditions and take necessary action, such as calling for an ambulance. The phone’s global positioning system, or GPS, could allow the ambulance to easily locate the patient as well. This will aid in the treatment of emergency heart disease cases.



The article is written by Dr Michelle Poon, Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, NCIS, and she shares about blood cancer and how stem cell transplant may be a treatment option for patients with blood cancer.


New way to better predict stomach cancer

A research team led by National University Health System (NUHS) and Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore has used genomic technologies to better understand intestinal metaplasia (IM), a known risk factor for gastric (stomach) cancer. Patients with IM are six times more likely to develop stomach cancer than those without. The research, published in one of the top cancer research journals, Cancer Cell, could also help detect patients who are infected with the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which is also linked to the disease.


Non-toxic spring cleaning

Associate Professor Lee Soo Chin, Head and Senior Consultant, Department of Haematology-Oncology, National University Cancer Institute, Singapore (NCIS), contributed an article on cancer screening and discussed the reliability of using cancer markers to diagnose cancer.


Cancer treatment in the comfort of home

Profile of an NCIS’ patient, Mr Wong Yek Wan receiving cancer treatment in the comfort of his home. He is one of about 50 patients getting home cancer treatment under the NCIS community and home care programme. NCIS nurses make more 1,000 trips a year to treat cancer patients outside of the hospital. The majority are home visits, with the rest done in the community, such as at polyclinics. 


Cheaper option for bone marrow transplants?

Blood cancer patients may be able to select a cheaper option for bone marrow transplants as the MediShield Life Review Committee will review whether the cover should be extended to outpatient treatment. Prof Chng Wee Joo, Director, NCIS, shared NCIS’ innovative model of care of moving care from inpatient to outpatient and to home/community care with the Straits Times, and added that there would be plans to expand outpatient stem cell treatment to lymphoma patients this year. This move would reduce the need for expensive hospital facilities and benefit patients. The hospital frees up bed and clinic space so more patients can be treated. Patients are saved the trip to the hospital and exposure to infections.