One-stop national cancer facility to open by 2022

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SINGAPORE: The National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS) will have a new building four times bigger than its current eight-storey centre built in 1999, which will act as a one-stop cancer care hub to help cope with the rising number of patients. 

The new building will open by 2022 at the Singapore General Hospital as part of the hospital’s redevelopment, according to NCCS’ press release on Friday (Jun 2).   

Artist’s impression of a research lab in the new NCCS building. (Image: NCCS)

NCCS said the building is designed to be more patient-centric, and services will be organised by disease group. Clinical, research and education facilities for each cancer group will be built close together, so that patients and caregivers can easier access services.

For example, the breast imaging room will be located close to the breast cancer clinic, NCCS said.

It added that the design will also help improve staff efficiency, and increase collaboration, knowledge sharing and access to medical and scientific experts, which will ultimately improve patients’ outcome.

Within the new facility, there will be a patients’ resources centre aimed at helping patients and their caregivers make more informed decisions on cancer care and treatment. 

A mental and physical wellness clinic will also be housed within the new NCCS building to offer physiotherapy and counselling services, as well as a clinical facility to support the manufacturing of cell and tissue therapy products.

The S$100 million Proton Therapy Centre, which was announced last August, will also be housed in the basement of the new building. It will have a fixed beam room and treatment gantries that can rotate 360 degrees so that protons are accurately delivered to the tumour site. Proton treatment is said to reduce radiation exposure as compared to conventional radiotherapy.

The Proton Therapy room. (Photo: Nagoya Proton Therapy Centre, Hitachi)

The new cancer facility comes as cancer continues to be the leading cause of death in Singapore, according to Health Minister Gan Kim Yong.

During Mr Gan’s speech at the building’s groundbreaking ceremony, he said cancer accounts for about 30 per cent of deaths among Singapore residents in 2015. Between 2011 and 2015, about 35 residents were diagnosed with cancer and 15 died from cancer every day, he added.

Groundbreaking ceremony for the new National Cancer Centre Singapore building. (Photo: Rachel Phua)

However, cancer treatment has improved in Singapore, Mr Gan said, and more people are surviving cancer today. The age-standardised cancer rate had fallen by close to 16 per cent, from 116 per 100,000 resident population in 2006 to 98 in 2015, he added. 

“The groundbreaking of the new NCCS today marks yet another important milestone for cancer care in Singapore and the region,” the minister said. “NCCS will continue to explore new technologies and treatment modalities to further improve cancer care.”

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