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Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 19:16

Free service for cancer patients to launch Aug 1


Free service for cancer patients to launch Aug 1
St James’ Settlement announced on Wednesday it will provide cancer patients support service including free consultation with registered pharmacies and financial support, starting Aug 1 at three community pharmacies run by the charity group. (Provided to China Daily)

HONG KONG — A free service for cancer patients will soon be available in the city, with practical advice and support to help them through the varied difficulties in fighting cancer.

Starting on Aug 1, St James’ Settlement will introduce the service in three community pharmacies run by the group. The service mainly helps cancer patients to better know the side effects of the medicine they use, as well as whether the curative effect will be comprised if more than one medicine is taken. Suggestions on dealing with the side effects will also be provided.

Each pharmacy has one registered pharmacist to offer the service for no charge. Patients can enjoy the service either through consulting via telephone or personally visiting the pharmacy. According to the group’s registered pharmacist Eugene Leung, one pharmacy is expected to receive 20 to 25 patients daily.

He also noted that the first three months of taking medicine is viewed as the key stage because most side effects, like vomiting and diarrhea, will emerge during this time period. If patients are to roundly informed about what they face, they will be mentally prepared, Leung said.

He recommended that patients take up the services the first week they start receiving cancer treatments.

An advanced kidney cancer patient surnamed Wong said he had been anxious since being diagnosed. According to him, doctors from the public hospital he attended had not explained to him clearly his condition while prescribing him different kinds of medicine.

A recent survey done by the group shows that, among the 105 interviewed cancer patients, 85 percent believed that being clearly informed about their condition was of critical importance. Meanwhile, 93 percent said they viewed pharmacists’ suggestions as vital to their treatments.

Besides not being better informed, cancer patients also face financial difficulties. The survey shows 94 percent of the patients ended up paying higher treatment expenses than they expected and 48 percent noted that they even considered quitting treatment because they could not afford it.

Taking that into consideration, the group will also offer financial aid to patients who have difficulty in covering the treatment cost, such as by subsidizing their transport fees to the pharmacy and giving them complementary nutrition supplements.

Willa Wu contributed to the reporting.

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