In conjunction with the launch of Ipoh WeCare Cancer Society, some fifty breast cancer patients received breast prosthesis from the government through The National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN).
Each set of breast prosthesis consists of two bras and one silicon prosthesis. Through WeCare Cancer Society, these women successfully applied for this aid provided by the government via LPPKN. Each set is retailed from RM800.
WeCare is a cancer support group based in Hospital Fatimah. The launch of WeCare was a timely progression for the society which was registered with the Registrar of Societies on April 8, 2014.
Initially, there were less than 20 members but it has grown to 45 active members to date. Although most members are survivors of breast cancer, membership is also open to patients of other types of cancers as well as non-patients who volunteer their time and resources to the society.
Currently, there is only one trained counsellor, Sister Biroo, but Dr. Chan Ching Phing, adviser to the WeCare, who is a consultant surgeon at Hospital Fatimah, hopes to identify more cancer survivors who are interested to be trained as counsellors to be sent for training in order to provide counselling to newly diagnosed patients.
Chief Executive Officer of Hospital Fatimah, Dr. Lim Chie Kean, in his speech, stressed the support that the hospital will provide to WeCare.
With the opening of Wolfgang Cancer Centre (WCC) in the hospital two years ago, more people are now aware of the different types of cancers and WeCare will play a pivotal role for those who are seeking treatment at WCC and their family members in providing early and continuous support.
Among the primary objectives of WeCare, besides providing early and long term support to cancer patients and their families as mentioned above, the society also cultivates a sharing and caring attitude, as well as to educate and create awareness amongst cancer patients and the public.
Last year, some of the activities arranged for members and guests were monthly health talks, handicraft workshops, make-up sessions and a candlelight event in memory of those who lost their fight to cancer.
Up-and-coming programmes would be family trips and birthday celebrations for members.
Membership is RM12 annually. New members are required to pay a one-off payment of RM5 as registration fee.
Other cancer support groups available in Ipoh for cancer patients and their families, besides WeCare, are Persatuan Pink Champion Perak (for breast cancer) and Cancerlink Foundation (Perak).
According to Dr. Chan Ching Phing, breast cancer is the most common female cancer in Malaysia. Among the different ethnic groups, Chinese tops the list, followed by the Malays, then Indians.
As early detection changes the prognosis of patients, Dr. Chan advises women to have their first mammogram done at 40 years old. Those with a strong family history of breast cancer should get a screening at an earlier age upon consultation with a doctor.
Those who return with normal results may do a follow-up screening three years later but those whose results are not as good will need to get a second mammogram before then.
Breast cancer patients should schedule a mammogram screening annually for at least the first five years.
A mammogram is RM120 at Hospital Fatimah. However, women who are financially constrained may apply for a subsidy through LPPKN.
Subsidised screenings are about RM30 – RM40 each time which can be conducted at any hospital that offers it.
At this stage, WeCare is seeking donations and sponsorships from the public in cash or kind. What could really help the society to further reach more people is corporate sponsorship.
WeCare Cancer Society
(Persatuan Kanser Kami Prihatin Ipoh)
Add: Hospital Fatimah Suite 11, No. 1, Jalan Dato’ Lau Pak Khuan, Ipoh Garden, 31400 Ipoh, Perak.
Facebook: WeCare Ipoh
Event: Launch of Ipoh WeCare Cancer Society
Venue: Hospital Fatimah, Ipoh
Date: 28th March, 2015
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