Supportive care is so important for cancer patients and their families in Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2017, 4:17pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 August, 2017, 9:28pm

I am encouraged that the government is preparing for the future of cancer care with the construction of a comprehensive cancer centre planned for 2025.

The Hong Kong Cancer Fund is especially pleased that these plans provide psychosocial oncology support for patients and their caregivers, endorsing the importance of holistic patient care in parallel with medical treatment.

Psychosocial oncology is a globally recognised cancer care specialty, focused on understanding and treating all aspects of cancer to safeguard quality of life for patients across every stage of treatment and recovery. Holistic psychosocial care for people living with cancer benefits medical outcomes for patients and also directly affects how families cope and adjust to the changes following a cancer diagnosis.

For too long, cancer patients, survivors and caregivers across Hong Kong have had to rely on NGOs for access to critically needed supportive care.

The Hong Kong Cancer Fund’s main objective is to provide free services to anyone touched by cancer. Through cancer patient resource centres in all major hospitals, and CancerLink support centres in the community, patients’ psychological, emotional and even financial well-being can be supported. This ensures well-adjusted, healthy survivors are better able to return to their normal lives after treatment.

We are glad to see that there is a changing momentum in how the government plans to deliver holistic cancer care, helping more families in the future to receive the support they need, and bringing Hong Kong in line with globally recognised best practices in psychosocial oncology. However, the groundbreaking work of NGOs like the Cancer Fund that have helped to bridge the gap between the clinical sector and the community for the past few decades should not be neglected.

The year 2025 is still a long way off and there are families in critical need of care today.

For 30 years, the Hong Kong Cancer Fund has provided the city’s largest network of cancer care to fill gaps in psychosocial support and deliver free holistic services to the community.

While we eagerly await the opening of a new comprehensive cancer centre, in the meantime, anyone touched by cancer can access the Cancer Fund’s free supportive care services by calling 3656 0800.

Sally Lo, founder and chief executive, Hong Kong Cancer Fund