Cancer patients in hospital settings less keen on going for rehab therapy: NUS survey

SINGAPORE - Cancer patients in hospitals seem to be less keen on going for rehabilitation programmes than patients in a non-hospital setting, a survey by three students at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has found.

About 42 per cent of 207 cancer patients polled at the National University Hospital (NUH) Cancer Centre were not willing to go for cancer rehabilitation, compared to just 6 per cent of the 37 patients polled at the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS). Fewer patients were polled at SCS, as they had been given a different survey which had many more open-ended questions.

Ms Vanessa Lim, 22, a Life Sciences major and one of the students involved in the project, said this could be because patients in hospitals had a different perception of the value of rehabilitation programmes.

"They associate hospitals with long queues and high medical bills... If you ask them in a hospital 'Do you want to attend more rehabilitation programmes?', they just say they want to go home."

Her team suggested having more rehabilitation centres in the heartlands, as people may be more willing to go to centres in the community.

The SCS already intends to set up a cancer rehabilitation centre in Jurong in September. It would be the first of its kind, addressing physical and emotional needs of patients.

Ms Lim's research project was one of five presented at the annual Chua Thian Poh Community Leadership Programme Symposium held at NUS on Tuesday. The programme aims to train students to lead change in their community through courses, research projects and on-the-job experience.

Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Lawrence Wong was guest of honour.

"It's good to have that ground-sensing... to do ground surveys to look at ways in which policies are trickling to the ground and see what's the actual impact," he said.