SINGAPORE - Cancer patients and survivors can now get physical therapy and other psychosocial help at a community-based rehabilitation centre in Jurong.
At the new cancer rehabilitation centre operated by the Singapore Cancer Society (SCS), patients and survivors get personal guidance by Cancer Care Navigators. These guides will customise physical, nutritional and psychosocial programmes to their needs.
The centre, located at Jem Office Tower in Jurong, is the first community-based rehab centre that caters specifically to people living with cancer. Caregivers can also receive training there.
At the centre's official launch on Saturday (Oct 8), Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said specialised cancer rehabilitation services and programmes have previously been limited to the hospital-setting.
"As a result, most patients are unable to receive sufficient follow-up rehabilitation after they have been discharged from the hospital. In this regard, I am glad that SCS, with the SCS rehabilitation centre, will help to close that gap," he said.
Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Singapore, contributing to 30 per cent of total deaths in 2015.
In 2014, surveys conducted by the SCS and National University Hospital showed that 87 per cent of patients suffer lifelong, life-impairing changes in their physical abilities as a result of the disease and its treatment. Of these, only 46 per cent of patients and survivors sought physical rehabilitative treatment.
Additionally, 44 per cent shared that they would not undergo hospital-based rehabilitation even if it was necessary. A significant proportion cited difficulty with transport (43 per cent) and high costs (31 per cent) as two major hurdles.
In a separate survey by SCS, 79 per cent of respondents said the rehabilitation centre's location was another key consideration.
So, the new centre is located in Jurong East, where it is easily accessible by train and bus, and is close to three hospitals, said the SCS.
Two SCS vans provide transportation services and further facilitate access to the centre for patients who are financially in need or are immobile.
Since it started operations in November 2015, more than 70 cancer patients and survivors have used its facilities and services.