Patient Optimism a Vital Aspect of Cancer Care

October 15, 2022

Columbia Asia cancer centre head, consultant clinical oncologist Dr Jayendran Dharmaratnam, with his team.

Cancer Patients Need Integrative Care – To be Supported Physically, Spiritually and Emotionally
CANCER care has come a long way from the days when treatment of the disease was seen as a painful experience with various side effects.

The journey has become more holistic with multiple-trained experts forming a team to support cancer patients throughout their journey.
First in The Group
Marking the first foray into oncology within the Columbia Asia group of hospitals is the newly opened cancer centre at Columbia Asia Hospital-Bukit Rimau (CAH-BR), Selangor.

It addresses and supports the increasing number of cancer patients, namely in Shah Alam, Klang, Subang Jaya, Banting and the wide radius surrounding these locations.

With CAH-BR taking the lead in Columbia Asia’s cancer care services, specialisation is multi-faceted – namely clinical oncology, medical oncology, hematology oncology and interventional radiology.

Through it all, the patient needs to be supported physically, spiritually and emotionally, because optimism is an important aspect of cancer treatment. This is what integrative care means.

Other than screenings and diagnostics, there are also pain management, post-treatment care, dietary counselling, physiotherapy, palliative care with a pain management unit, and home care for terminal and immobile patients.

‘Cancer is not a solitary journey. Support and guidance can come from many aspects and angles, whether clinical or non-clinical,’ says Dr Kananathan.
Towards Better Outcomes
The many approaches allow treatment to become more compassionate and efficient.

For example, in the case of patients having undergone a mastectomy or lymph node dissection, some will avoid movement because of the post-surgical pain.

“They are unable to lift their shoulders which makes radiotherapy very uncomfortable. So they need physiotherapy to rehabilitate their joints,” says CAH-BR consultant medical oncologist Dr Kananathan Ratnavelu.

“Pain management is important. There are patients who refrain from taking pain killers because they fear addiction. This is a notion that needs to be corrected. For this, we have a palliative care physician to look into this aspect.

“We believe cancer is not a solitary journey. Support and guidance can come from many aspects and angles, whether clinical or non-clinical.”
Empower The Patient
“Once a diagnosis is made, patients deserve to know their diagnosis, stage of the disease and options of therapy available. They must also be well-informed about the side effects of respective therapies,” says Dr Kananathan.

“Caregivers also need our support as they form an integral part of the team that looks after the cancer patient.”

This is why patient coordinators/navigators, cancer rehabilitation programmes and group support are considered integral at the Columbia Asia cancer centre.

“In cancer, we are at war. We will have many battles to fight. Some we win, some we lose.

“But if we are hopeful and positive, we empower patients to have a better chance at winning the war,” says Dr Kananathan.

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