Parkway Cancer Centre has prized itself as a one-stop centre for cancer management: Dr Zee Ying Kiat

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Parkway Cancer Centre has prized itself as a one-stop centre for cancer management: Dr Zee Ying Kiat Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld spoke to Dr. Zee Ying Kiat, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology, Mt Elizabeth Medical Centre, Singapore to know more about the advanced cancer management offered at Parkway cancer centre.

Gastric cancer and advancements in its treatment
Gastric cancer stands as one of the ten most common cancers worldwide. In India it stands as the third most common cancer in men as well as women, as per the data in the year 2013.

The main stay of treatment for gastric cancer in its early stages is use of surgery, often combined with chemotherapy and in some instances with radiation therapy. This has been the backbone of treatment for patients with gastric cancer.

Significant advancements have also been made with the use of targeted therapies, as well as the more recently introduced immunotherapy. Speaking of targeted therapies in particular, we know that about 10-15% of patients with advanced gastric cancer harbour an aberration in their genetic make-up. For patients with this type of gastric cancer, the use of a targeted therapy in the form of herceptin has significantly improved the patients’ outcome, as far as the advanced disease is concerned.

With advancement in cancer immune-therapy, patients with advanced gastric cancer can also be treated with this form of medicines to further enhance the outcomes. Cancer immune-therapy works through the activation of stimulation of one’s own immune system to target and attack the cancer cells.

Medical tourism in Singapore
Medical tourism in Singapore is significant and an important sector. This is driven by the fact that Singapore has a good reputation for well-developed infrastructure, clean environment and specific-to-healthcare facilities. Singapore is known to have advanced infrastructure, medical technology. As far as doctors and health professionals are concerned, it is reflected from the fact that the figures in medical tourism patients coming to Singapore for treatment has risen year on year. The latest statistic states that some 400 thousand patients seek healthcare support in Singapore.

Parkway Cancer Centre as a differentiator
Parkway Cancer Centre has prized itself as a one-stop centre for the management of patients who have been diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is itself a very complex condition and requires the inputs of various doctors for obtaining the optimal outcome for patient.

I am a Medical Oncologist which means that I use medicines in the treatment of patients with cancer. Medicines alone would not necessarily be the end of all treatments. We often combine different treatment vitalities to achieve optimal outcome. This includes surgery, radiation therapy etc.

This is treatment in a multi-disciplinary approach whereby the doctors from various specialties, including medical oncology, surgical oncology and radiation oncology work together as a team to help to deliver care for patients.

And as far as medical treatment for cancer is concerned, we are now able to not just deliver treatment with chemo-therapy but also targeted-therapy and immunotherapy. And Singapore is well-known for its early access to some of the latest drugs which have been approved through the clinical trial data.

Please elaborate on specialised cancer care at Parkway Cancer Centre
Even beyond the disease itself, we have to look at the patients’ overall well-being- their nutrition and psychological health; and therefore it is important that within the Parkway cancer centre setup, we work with our dieticians, psychologists and counsellors to help and guide patients.

For patients who seek healthcare in Singapore from overseas; they usually face multiple challenges. For example, patients who face language as a barrier; Parkway Cancer Centre has its own translators. It also has a Patient Assistance Centre to help patients with transfer facility and even helps them settle down when they have arrived in Singapore for treatment.

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