March 26, 2018, by Alice Kong
Visit to National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM)
On 14 March 2018, Year 3 Biomedical Sciences students visited the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), which was an activity of the Cancer Biology module.
NCSM is a non-profit organisation that aims to create an understanding towards cancer by providing the best possible care and support for patients as well as their family members and friends to allow early cancer detection and prevention. Volunteers in NCSM include the public, professionals, and cancer survivors.
Upon arrival, students were first briefed about the history of NCSM and the activities they organise.
After that, students were given an opportunity to visit different departments, namely the Cancer and Health Screening Clinic, Nuclear Medicine Centre, Children’s Home of Hope and Resource Wellness Centre. These services are highly subsidised and therefore people from all economy classes could enjoy them at lower prices.
The Resource Wellness Centre is an information and support centre for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and families. The range of support and wellness services include Chinese Ink Painting, yoga, Qigong and reflexology, which aided in promoting physical, emotional and mental well-being.
The Nuclear Medicine Centre provides Nuclear Medicine Imaging to diagnose the spread of cancer to bones or other organs before the patient undergoes cancer treatment. Students had the chance to look at some real examples of patients’ bone scintigraphy and kidney scan while visiting this department.
The Cancer and Health Screening Clinic provides a one-stop health and cancer screening for men and women of all ages. Women above 40 years old could also have a mammogram scanning in this clinic.
The uppermost floor of the NCSM building is the Children’s Home of Hope. This home provides paediatric cancer patients and their caregivers (from outstation) a comfortable place to stay while undergoing treatment at nearby hospitals in Kuala Lumpur. Leisure equipment and cooking facilities are also provided in the home.
The knowledge learned in the Cancer Biology module was about the mechanisms and different treatment methods for various cancers. However, this visit to NCSM had expanded the understanding of students about cancer regarding the aspects of care and support for cancer patients. After the visit, students also gained insight into other means to help cancer patients besides cancer research. A quote from a senior nurse who has worked in the oncology ward for 17 years, Miss Margaret: “Having cancer isn’t a dead end and we should continue living life to the fullest even with the disease” was truly inspiring. One should never give up and should keep on fighting even when faced with a colossal obstacle such as cancer.
Article by: See Lei Shan and Clerance Cheong Su Yee (BMS Year 3 students)