September 3, 2019, by Alice Kong
UNM Making Appearance in Malaysian Public Health
Public Forum: Living Well with Cancer was an event hosted and organized by the University of Malaya (UM). The forum aimed to inform cancer survivors, advocates, support groups, relevant NGOs and the healthcare professionals on cancer patient-centered research. The informative forum is expected to empower the different parties and the knowledge from local settings is expected to facilitate their advocacy efforts to improve cancer care delivery in the country, with the ultimate goal of improving the overall well-being of Malaysian cancer survivors and their circles.
Organized on the 18th August in TJ Danaraj Auditorium, Faculty of Medicine, UM. Dr Aini Hamid, my supervisor, was invited as a guest speaker. She started her talk with an amusing introduction to cancer support groups. She then captivated the audience with the fascinating findings of her research and intriguing anecdotes about her own personal experience. The topic being very relevant to many meant that she (and us) was bombarded with discussions and questions which over ran into our lunchtime for about 3 hours. Other guest speakers were Datuk Prof Dr Yip Cheng Har, renowned breast surgeon from SJMC, and Assoc Prof Dr Ng Chong Guan, psychiatrist at UMMC.
I was, on the other hand, teamed up with student helper, Amna Shah, and Research Associate Eugene Chan, to gather participants for our research. Several issues to complete our tasks were solved through proper communication and solid teamwork. Majority of the participants for our research were cancer survivors, and caregivers, who came with some colourful personalities.
Chatting with the participants have led me to understand this “underground” community that the public is seemingly unaware of, myself included. I was awestruck by the passion and silent determination of these participants regarding battling cancer and they seemed to carry their batch of survivorship with pride, deservingly so. I was also greeted with faces of annoyance, who appeared to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of surveys that they were already involved with. However, due to their devotion in wanting to give back to their community, they still volunteered to participate in the study regardless.
Overall, I gained a new perspective and a profound respect for the cancer patients/survivors community. Special thanks to the host, UM, for the invitation, and all the participants. Their contributions are highly appreciated and the data gained from it will help us achieve a greater understanding of the current predicament regarding cancer support groups in local settings.
Article by: Nurshafida Adzlin Binti Shamsul Anuar (BMS Year 2 student)