Battling cancer from the inside out

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Principal Counsellor from Parkway Cancer Centre (Singapore) stresses the importance of psychological counselling for cancer patients

Addressing cancer does not only involve the medical and physical aspects of a patient. Attending to the emotional and mental health of the patient as well as those of his or her family members and friends are equally important. This is what Tan Hui Ping, Principal Counsellor at Parkway Cancer Centre (PCC) in Singapore, believes and anchors her work on.

Tan Hui Ping

Ms. Tan provides psychosocial and emotional counselling for cancer patients as they cope with their diagnosis, treatment process, and care plans. She also runs support groups with other counsellors in PCC.

She shared that PCC provides counselling services right from the start for patients who require such support — either through referrals from doctors or walk-in by patients themselves. “We at Parkway Cancer Centre work as a team. We have our oncologists, nurses, guest relations officers, counsellors, dieticians, and palliative nurses,” Ms. Tan told BusinessWorld in an interview. “We are a team of practitioners coming together to support our patients in their respective areas of needs.”

For her, counselling plays a significant role in supporting and helping the patient battle against cancer. “There is no one aspect that is more important than the other,” Ms. Tan emphasized. “All aspects — physical, mental, emotional are important as they form the holistic well-being of a patient.”

While Ms. Tan has been able to empower patients through counselling, these patients also inspire her, like in a case of a patient in his early 30s. At the prime of his career in the aviation industry, the patient was found to have a tumor in his eye, affecting his vision and robbing him away from a profession that he so much loved.

“When I first saw him, I remembered he was totally devastated, and I can imagine why it is so terribly hard for him,” Ms. Tan narrated.

With counselling support, Ms. Tan continued, he started to shift his perspectives and gradually became very strong mentally and very positive emotionally. He was empowered to cope with his cancer a lot more.

“Once he accepted this fate that he couldn’t change, he changed his mindset, attitude and perspectives accordingly and things started to improve for him.”

Soon, this patient’s journey inspired many others, including Ms. Tan herself. “When I saw how resilient he became, how he did the seemingly impossible in the most amazing and extraordinary ways, how he turned predicament into achievement, that really inspired me and impacted me greatly,” she said. “I learnt a lot from my patients and draw energy, drive, and power from them.”

Being diagnosed with cancer challenges both patients and their loved ones. Family members and friends might be clueless about how to respond and how they could help. For Ms. Tan, by being present with the patient is good enough.

“Many times, our patients are tired of repeating their stories. So, if you could just stay with them, sit with them by their side, hold their hands, and simply listen to whatever they wanted to say — that’s good enough,” Ms. Tan advised.

Aside from being present, one could also help by doing simple tasks for their beloved, like helping them run day-to-day errands, babysitting their children for a few days, or driving them to the clinic to see the doctor. “Supporting someone with cancer need not mean doing tall order stuff, keep it practical and simple, and that’s all it matters.” Ms. Tan said.

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HealthNews is a monthly publication by Parkway Cancer Centre Singapore.

In the Philippines, Parkway Cancer Centre Singapore are represented by CanHOPE Manila. They act as a link with direct access to the Singapore team providing integrated care throughout a patient’s journey.

For information on the centre and their services, please email and visit CanHOPE Manila on Facebook.

To make an enquiry or appointment, contact our Parkway Patient Assistance Centre:

Parkway Patient Assistance Centre (Taguig) 2/F Ore Central, 31st Street corner 9th Avenue Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City, 1634 Philippines

Tel: +63 2 812-1264 ext. 227


Parkway Patient Assistance Centre (Pasig) Unit 3106 East Tektite Tower Exchange Road, Ortigas Center Pasig City 1605, Philippines

Tel: +63 917-560-6498