Cancer care through shared experiences


(From left) Lee, Dr Chan, Lim and Chooi at the MOU signing.

Volunteers from cancer survivor groups are supporting fellow patients with care strategies, via both informal conversations and structured counselling.

This approach focuses on the emotional and moral care of cancer patients and ensuring patients thrive and not just survive in the post-diagnosis period.

One such volunteer is Dr Zahrina Azian Zohadie, a colon cancer survivor who conquered the disease two years ago.

“I understand the struggles of post-diagnosis and pains endured during treatment, particularly chemotherapy.

“I recognise the crucial role of support during this challenging phase, illustrated by my own experience where my loved ones’ support became my lifeline.

“Hence, I aim to be that same supportive figure to reassure others that they are not alone,” she said.

The initiative is part of a three-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Columbia Asia Hospital Bukit Rimau and Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA).

“The signing of this MOU represents our shared commitment to offer extensive emotional and moral care to cancer patients,” said Columbia Asia regional chief executive officer Lee Hui Chen.

Dr Zahrina wants to foster positive mindset among cancer patients.Dr Zahrina wants to foster positive mindset among cancer patients.

Dr Zahrina said her volunteer effort included co-hosting monthly sessions called “Sembang Survivor” (survivors chat) at the hospital with another breast cancer survivor, Norhaisnah Naian.

“Our goal is to foster a positive mindset in patients, which is important for enduring the journey and enhancing recovery prospects,” said the 48-year-old family medicine specialist.

Also present at the signing were Selangor public health and environment committee chairman Jamaliah Jamaluddin, Columbia Asia group chief executive officer and managing director Dr Chan Boon Kheng, BCWA president Kim Lim and general manager Joanna Chooi Keng Low.

In her speech, Jamaliah highlighted the global impact of cancer and the importance of preventive measures plus early detection.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, with an estimated 10 million deaths each year.

“Around 70% of these occur in low to middle-income countries.

“Remarkably, over 40% of cancer-related deaths can be prevented through lifestyle changes and early detection,” she said. — By ETHEL SIAO

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