New cancer centre to provide ray of hope for cancer patients

The New National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) in Outram will provide a ray of hope for many cancer patients grappling with the dreaded disease as it will offer new technologies such as proton therapy. The centre is expected to be ready by 2022 and will be four times larger than the current building. The groundbreaking ceremony for the centre was organised today morning.

Speaking on the occasion, Gan Kim Yong, Health Minister of Singapore, said “The NCCS will work with other public healthcare institutions to research the full extent of the clinical benefits of proton therapy.”

Proton therapy is a form of radiation therapy that uses protons instead of the x-rays used in standard radiation therapy. Through use of proton therapy, there will be minimal damage to tissues and organs near tumours and reduced side effects related to treatment.

Gan Kim Yong, Health Minister of Singapore.
Gan Kim Yong, Health Minister of Singapore. Photo courtesy:

Gan said, “Health Ministry will work with NCCS and others to monitor developments in the field closely. It will be assessing the effectiveness of proton therapy compared to existing tried-and-tested modes of treatment – in terms of delivering long-term outcomes, side effects and cost-effectiveness – to determine which cancers proton therapy should be used for.”

Giving information about the formation of a new division of Cancer Prevention and Population Health by NCCS, the Health Minister said, “The division will identify ways to reduce cancer morbidity and mortality by investigating cancer causes and risk factors, including the identification of genetic risk factors and ways to modify behaviour. It will conduct clinical and community-based intervention studies in targeted populations.”

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Singapore. About 35 citizens were diagnosed with it daily between 2011 and 2015. However, now with better care and awareness, more people are surviving cancer. Even the cancer related death has come down from 116 per 100,000 in 2006 to 98 in 2015.

The fee for screening and first subsequent consultation (if needed) at participating Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) clinics is S$5 for eligible Singaporeans, S$2 for CHAS cardholders, and free for elderly Singaporeans under the Pioneer Generation Package.