Dr Daryl Tan, hematologist and Director of Research at Singapore Raffles Hospital was invited as a speaker for the cancer-treatment forum held at the Crowne Plaza in QC. The following is a summary from the discussion at the forum.

Dr Daryl recounted a previous case, of a female patient who suffered from a blood cancer known as Hodgkin Lymphoma. Hodgkin Lymphoma is a cancer of the white blood cell, and it is most prevalent among adults in their 20s to 30s. With other cancers like lung cancer, the cause can be identified and attributed (e.g smoking), the cause of this cancer is still unknown. Some of the symptoms include swollen lymph nodes in the early stages and there were cases of patients who reported feeling a lump in their neck.

For this particular patient, unlike other similar cases, she was part of the minority of patients her age who did not respond well to chemotherapy.

This patient then proceeded for the standard next in line treatment for her condition – stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, this treatment proved to be of little aid, and her disease continued to worsen, and a huge tumor grew in her chest.

Immunotherapy as an alternative treatment

Fortunately, advancements in the medical field came through as a new type of treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma was approved in Singapore. This treatment known as immunotherapy involves the application of an immune checkpoint blocker called pembrolizumab.

Two months after the immunotherapy treatment, her tumor resolved, and she is happily back at work.

The conventional method of treatment for Hodgkin Lymphoma was chemotherapy, which involves the use of drugs that were toxic to cancer cells. However, there were other potential side effects like hair loss and diarrhea. With immunotherapy, the treatment aids the body strengthen its immune system to be able to fight the cancer on its own.

Find out more about the treatments for Hodgkin Lymphoma.


Immunotherapy as a new hope

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