It’s a rare patient who finds comfort at a cancer clinic. However, the team at International Cancer Specialists have curated much more than just a chemotherapy centre in Singapore. The CEO and Executive Director of ICS, BENJAMIN TAN, shares some behind-the scenes look at the centre.
“I look forward to coming to your clinic.” These eight words surprised me when I first heard them from a long-term patient of ours over two years ago in the midst of the pandemic in Singapore.
Curious, I asked, “Why?” Why would someone actually look forward to coming to a place that has traditionally been taboo in many cultures, especially at a time when healthcare institutions were to be avoided at all costs?
My patient replied, “Well, it’s because when I come to your centre, I feel safe. Your team of doctors and nurses always make my day. I also feel so much more supported than if I were to just stay at home and watch TV or something.”
Indeed, far from being a place of hopelessness, I often hear cackles of laughter erupting from the treatment areas. This is even as our patients undergo the cutting-edge treatment necessary for their survival. Loud greetings of familiar welcome are exchanged as they walk through our doors, and one may even find a child or two zipping around our walkways or on a couch, reading.
Serving patients since 2008
I remember then that service is in the very DNA of International Cancer Specialists (ICS). Since its founding in 2008, we have not only provided the very latest and appropriate cancer screening and treatment for our patients from over 20 countries around the world, but in a manner that is heartfelt and with the kind of raw empathy that allows connection and mutual understanding, regardless of culture, language or religion.
I’m confident that if one were to ask our past and current patients what they remember most from their time with ICS, it would be two words: our service. Far from just being a buzzword or label stuck on nonchalantly, service is at the core of every aspect of what we offer our patients and their family or support system.
From how we respond to every email, to how we strategise to help our patients continue their treatment, even if it means arranging for them to leave us and go to another facility that can take care of their unique needs, our focus is clear and sharp. That is, as far as possible, to save and make whole every life that comes through our doors, underpinned by our principles of integrity, competence and service.
As we celebrate our 15th year of compassionate cancer care in 2023, we have a renewed vision of enabling the same level of care and service in our neighbouring countries, Indonesia and Vietnam, via partnerships with quality healthcare partners there who share our vision.
In addition, new initiatives like the first Art as Therapy programme with a treasure of Singapore art, Dr Leon Chew, have also been launched to further care for the total wellbeing of our patients.
At ICS, our culture is cultivated from the understanding that at the centre of all cancer care is a unique human being first and foremost. Everything else, whether the latest in genetic screening and multi-cancer early detection to immunotherapy and stem-cell therapy, is but another way of helping another precious life to heal and be whole again. And that will always be our undiluted focus.
This article first appeared in the June 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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