SO MUCH money has been spent on
cancer research but not much progress has been made.
Even with advanced medical technology, many people
are still diagnosed with late-stage cancers.
People with rare cancers are worst off because
doctors tend to have limited knowledge on their
particular type of cancer.
Leukaemia and lymphoma cancer patients are also not
spared. Very often, haematologists grappled with the
results of numerous blood and bone marrow tests before
reaching a conclusive diagnosis. In some cases, they
could not even be sure about the diagnosis.
New chemotherapy drugs are expensive. In most
instances they merely serve as palliative care - giving
some extra time to the patients.
Hence, I reckon there is no real medical
breakthrough. Cancer patients will be bankrupted if they
live long enough.
Many cancer patients have become richer (covered
under critical illnesses insurance policies) and are big
spenders on health products and supplements.
Most of these health supplements are overpriced and
not regulated by HSA if they are not sold as Chinese
proprietary medicine. If only HSA imposes stringent
requirements, cancer patients will enjoy value-for-money
health supplements. It is a known fact that the actual
contents of most supplements fall short of what is
indicated on their labels.
Cancer patients find it stressful when their friends
promote products of MLM companies to them. While some
show genuine concern, I reckon it is best to follow the
golden rule: 'Let the patients decide what is best for
Very often, patients are challenged - 'Health versus
money - which is more important to you?'
My advice - there are many good products in the
market. Take your time to do your own research on the
type of health supplements that will be most beneficial
to your kind of cancer. Buy only reliable and affordable
products that offer value for money and with proven
efficacy. Each patient's cancer strategy is unique.
Qualified dietitians of local cancer medical
institutions/centres and hospitals should take time to
provide cancer patients with individualised and in-depth
nutrition information that they will need during cancer
treatment and recovery. At the same time, make them less
vulnerable to the cancer 'entrepreneurs'. Nutritional
care is a component of true comprehensive cancer care.
AVA should also take a more pro-active role in
helping farmers grow pesticide-free produce and impose
stringent checks on imported produce. This will help to
build a healthier nation in line with HPB's campaign on
consumption of more vegetables and fruits.
Lee Soh Hong (Miss)