Support crucial in helping prostate cancer patients
New campaign launched to spread awareness of advanced prostate cancer
Unlike some other patients, when the doctor told him he had advanced prostate cancer, he saw it as a way to be thankful for the long life he has had.
Mr Manap Rahman said: "I have already lived until past 80, so any extra life I am getting is a bonus."
The 86-year-old is one of many men battling advanced prostate cancer.
According to the Singapore Cancer Registry, advanced or stage-four cases made up 30 per cent of the prostate cancer cases in Singapore from 2010 to 2014.
Between 1976 and 2015, the incidence of prostrate cancer rose from 5.9 to 29.7 per 100,000 Singaporean men. The rate of other cancers affecting men fell during the 40-year period.
With this in mind, Johnson & Johnson yesterday launched the Be There For Us campaign with the support of the Singapore Cancer Society and the National University Hospital (NUH).
The public education campaign hopes to encourage men and their loved ones to recognise the symptoms of advanced prostate cancer and to seek medical help.
Dr Edmund Chiong, a senior consultant at the National University Cancer Institute's division of surgical oncology (urology), said: "If men are more aware of the manifestations of advanced prostate cancer, seek appropriate help and perform shared decision making with their doctor, they have a better chance of fighting the disease successfully."
For Mr Manap, whose wife died of liver cancer more than 10 years ago, the first sign of trouble was an excruciating pain when trying to urinate.
His family sent him to the NUH in an ambulance immediately.
After her father was diagnosed, Miss Rosnah Manap, 54,the second of his five children and main caregiver, said she did not want him to suffer through chemotherapy and opted for him to take oral medicine instead.
He also has a monthly injection of hormones and another monthly injection to strengthen his bones as the cancer cells have spread there.
"My father is a fighter... These patients need our support, and sharing our story might help them," she said, tears welling up in her eyes.
Echoing the need for strong support is Mr Clarence Heng,62, who managed to spot prostate cancer at stage two through a bi-annual medical screening his then company had provided for him.
The retiree, who has been in remission for the past year and is now a patient ambassador who helps other men going through prostate cancer, said he has seen patients who lack their family's support consider suicide because they feel that "cancer is a death sentence".
Mr Heng is also a member of the Singapore Cancer Society's Walnut Warriors, a group of current and former prostate cancer patients who provide support and counselling to each other.
He said: "I am just giving back to society.
"I think it is not good if you keep it to yourself. You need to be open and talk about it.
"No one should walk the journey alone."