School nerd now wields 'invisible blades'

School nerd now wields 'invisible blades'
Dr Lee Kuo Ann, a consultant radiation oncologist at Parkway Cancer Centre.


Dr Lee Kuo Ann

AGE: 43

OCCUPATION: Consultant radiation oncologist at Parkway Cancer Centre

Dr Lee confesses to being a nerd when he was in school. With his twin interests in computers and physics, radiotherapy seemed a natural choice for him.

But it was not until a patient in his ward at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) was referred for radiotherapy that he discovered this field of medicine.

Then a medical officer, he immediately applied for a six-month attachment and traineeship in radiotherapy at SGH.

Radiotherapy is one of three conventional treatment options for treating cancer, with the other two being surgery and chemotherapy.

Dr Lee is married to a 40-year-old stay-at-home mother. They have two daughters aged 12 and 10.

I specialise in treating cancer with radiation because...

Just as Moore's Law dictates that computing power doubles every four years, we see significant improvements in radiotherapy technology roughly every five years.

Clearer imaging technology, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT), has allowed tumours to be located precisely.

The body cells are fascinating because...

Thousands of complex molecules and biochemical processes help cells to identify and repair DNA damage that occurs on a daily basis.

If not for these processes, cancer would afflict everyone from a young age.

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