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The National Cancer Centre (NCC) launched its new website on 22 October 1999. Targeted at the general public as well as health care professionals, the 87-page website replaces an old one at the same URL: It serves not only to introduce the NCC, its services and research programmes, but more importantly, to provide relevant, reliable and up-to-date information concerning the prevention, treatment and control of different types of cancer, particularly in the Asian context.

Educating the public about cancer is one of the key objectives of the NCC, and with internet use becoming increasingly commonplace, it sees the website as an important component in its arsenal against the disease. Cancer information is now made even more easily within reach, as anyone can access relevant information from the website, 24 hours a day, in the comfort of his home or office.

Considering one in four people die of cancer in Singapore, many will find the information pertinent to them or to the people they care about. Almost a third of the pages on the website is devoted to introducing 19 of the most common types of cancer in Asia, including lung, breast and colorectal cancers. Useful data is presented under clear groupings to describe what the specific type of cancer is, how common it is, the average age of onset, the risks and causes, symptoms and signs, diagnostic tests, treatment, prognosis and frequently asked questions about that type of cancer. A person can then use the information to assess his risks and take preventive measures, or seek medical advice when in doubt. Doctors can also print relevant webpages to distribute to their patients, so that the patients will have reliable reading materials to take with them, in order that they may learn more about their illnesses and the treatments available.

Doctors and medical students will also find the What’s New and Research sections of the website to be of particular interest. The former highlights the latest cancer information, research, conferences and seminars. Medical professionals can find out more about job openings at the NCC in the Job Opportunities page of the same section. The Research section details the current clinical trials and studies that are being conducted at the NCC. You can also find published scientific papers by NCC’s staff and the patents available for licensing in this section.

Both the public and medical professionals with specific questions about cancer and cancer-related issues can also pose questions through the Cancer Helpline hyperlink found on all pages, to well-trained oncology nurse counsellors manning the Cancer Helpline which was launched recently. The counsellors will be happy to answer these questions via e-mail. All enquiries are kept confidential.

“In August and September this year, there were 374 callers to the Cancer Helpline. Most of the callers were cancer patients, their family or friends seeking information about prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Clearly people are looking for information. NCC’s new website will complement the information available from the Cancer Helpline,” said Dr Elizabeth Au, Head of Cancer Education and Information Services, and Consultant of the Medical Oncology Department at the NCC.

Getting around the website is easy as the pages are laid out in an uncomplicated and logical manner such that the user does not get lost in a maze of hyperlinks and subpages. Main modules covering topics such as About NCC, Cancer Information, Health Care Professional, Clinical Services, Research and Investment/Collaboration can be found on all pages to help the user navigate the site.

Do visit the website and see for yourself how it can help you or someone you care about deal with the disease, or if you are a health care professional, help you in your work.