Voyage of good health

PHOTO: Voyage of good health

SINGAPORE - To raise funds for the Singapore Cancer Society while sharing stories of hope and showcasing the latest research developments, Parkway Cancer Centre (PCC) organised a unique Health Voyage with Royal Caribbean International - a cruise featuring seminars and workshops on healthy living.

It took place on board the Legend of the Seas, a cruise liner from the Royal Caribbean fleet, from 16-19 December 2011.

Featuring Dr Ang Peng Tiam, Medical Director of PCC and Vice Chairman of the Singapore Cancer Society, one of Health Voyage's key seminars focused on understanding diverse cancer types, advances in treatments, and the journey of recovery.

Dr Ang showed the latest advances in treatments of different types of cancers, particularly those using chemotherapy and tomotherapy. He also shared insights from his extensive experience in treating cancer patients.

"Treating cancer is not just treating the disease. It's about treating the whole person and making sure we offer the necessary psychological and social support," said Dr Ang.

Real stories of the courage and hope of individuals battling cancer were shared at the seminar, inspiring and encouraging participants.

"Stories of Hope showed me that cancer does not always mean a death sentence," said Ms Janete Quah from Singapore.

Dr Ang noted that the seminar was "the first time we presented stories of hope on board a ship". He explained that 2011 marked the five-year anniversary of the founding of PCC,  and the Centre "wanted to organise a special event".

On the cruise, Dr Khoo Kei Siong, Deputy Medical Director of PCC and Vice President in the Council of the College of Physicians, Singapore,  also highlighted the prevention, early detection, control and treatment of Singapore's two most common cancers - breast and colorectal cancers. He then shared the latest data on both types of cancers.

"Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. In Singapore nearly every one in 20 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime," Dr Khoo noted. "The good news is that more women are surviving the disease as a result of early detection and improved treatment."

"We often travel to remote parts and locations in the region to raise awareness about cancer prevention, and by holding the talks on the Legend of the Seas we wanted to reach out to a more diverse audience," Dr Khoo added.

Interactive workshops

The Health Voyage programme also included two interactive workshops: "How to Love Thyself" by Ms Angie Toh, a personal coach, and "Benefits of Acupoint Massage" by Ms Qing Ai Li, a meridian health advisor.

Ms Toh's workshop Introduced breathwork as a powerful breathing technique, using deep conscious connected breathing, to alleviate daily stress.

"When we consciously breathe, we make it possible to resolve, integrate and heal previously unresolved issues within ourselves. This frees up energy, bringing greater aliveness and joy and fulfilment of our potential," Ms Toh noted.

In the concluding workshop, Ms Qing shared her lessons learned from acupressure. "Instead of using needles or massage techniques to provide energy balance, acupressure relies on the pressure of the fingers, thumbs and elbows," she said. "It can be used to relieve injuries and stress related conditions."

Participants of the Health Voyage reflected on its informative character within an relaxing atmosphere.

"Learning more about cancer survivors, their journeys, and various treatment options directly from the doctors has been very enlightening," said Mr Peter Lee from Singapore. "Their perspectives, insights, and experiences gave me a better understanding of the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer."

Another participant, Ms Anita Fong, said: "I can relate to the stories of hope given my medical condition. The seminars have been very interesting, informative, and most importantly, easy to understand."

Royal Caribbean donated all its nett proceeds from the registration fees to the Singapore Cancer Society. In addition, the cruise company will match the nett proceeds dollar-to-dollar.

"We are very pleased to have this opportunity to organise 'Health Voyage' with Parkway Cancer Centre, which aimed to enhance the knowledge of the participants on healthy living, as well as to raise funds for the Singapore Cancer Society," said Jennifer Yap, Managing Director of Royal Caribbean Cruises Asia. "Through this healthy living theme cruise, we were able to bring a more meaningful and educational perspective to vacationing on the high seas."

For the participants, the cruise was a true health journey.

"I take home three lessons: cancers can be detected early; measures can be taken to significantly lower cancer-related risk factors; and there have been significant advances in treatments," said Mr Gene B., a participant from Singapore.

Special thanks to Royal Caribbean Cruises Asia, Eu Yan Sang, Centrum, Nestlé and Terumo