A one-stop rehabilitation centre for cancer patients in the community was officially opened by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Saturday (Oct 8).

The facility, located at JEM Office Tower in Jurong East, includes services such as physical therapy, nutrition workshops, cancer support groups and an upcoming programme to reintegrate patients back into the workforce.

Since the centre began operations in November 2015, more than 70 patients have benefited from its services, which are mostly free except for specialised rehabilitation programmes. To date, specialised cancer rehabilitation programmes have been limited to hospitals.

As a result, most patients are unable to receive sufficient follow-up rehabilitation after being discharged from the hospital. Mr Gan said he was glad that the new rehab centre will help "close this gap".

A pressing need for rehabilitation services in the community was identified by the Singapore Cancer Society's Cancer Rehabilitation Task Force. In 2014, the Taskforce and NUH conducted various surveys on 264 cancer patients and survivors.

While 87 per cent of these patients suffer life-impairing changes in their physical abilities, less than half (46 per cent) of them sought physical rehabilitative treatment. Reasons cited included difficulty with transport, high costs and inaccessibility.

The centre is near three hospitals, and also provides transportation services for patients who are financially in need or immobile.

Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Singapore, contributing to 30 per cent of total deaths last year.

Source: Government of Singapore