Ask a Medical Oncologist: Dr Choo Su-Pin from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore and Farrer Park Hospital Singapore

Ask a Doctor ForumCategory: OncologyAsk a Medical Oncologist: Dr Choo Su-Pin from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore and Farrer Park Hospital Singapore
Dr Choo Su-Pin asked 2 years ago
I am Dr Choo Su-Pin, Medical Oncologist practicing at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Singapore and Farrer Park Hospital Singapore. Ask Me Anything! I am a medical oncologist who specializes in gastrointestinal cancers including colorectal, upper gastrointestinal, pancreas, hepatobiliary, peritoneal, and anal cancers. I am a key opinion leader in hepatobiliary cancers. I was the President of the Singapore Society of Oncology (SSO), a founding member of the SSO-Cancer Immunotherapy Consortium and a council member of the Chapter of Medical Oncology, Academy of Medicine, Singapore. I was the Deputy Head of the Division of Medical Oncology prior to private practice and Chief of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Department from 2012 to 2018. I graduated from the University of Nottingham Medical School, UK before returning to Singapore. I have fellowships from the Royal College of Physicians, UK and the Academy Of Medicine, Singapore and was trained in medical oncology at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). I was one of the few overseas participants selected to participate in the AACR/ASCO Methods in Cancer Research Workshop, held in Vail in 2006. I also did a research fellowship at the University of California San Francisco where I worked on clinical trials for gastrointestinal cancers and undertook laboratory research on understanding neuroendocrine tumours. In 2011, I obtained a SMU-Singhealth Graduate Diploma in Healthcare Management and Leadership. For my clinical care of patients, I received the Gold Excellent Service Award in 2010. At NCCS, I was a Senior Consultant in the Division of Medical Oncology and co-Director of the Comprehensive Liver Cancer Clinic from 2014 till 2019. I was a driver of many initiatives and was instrumental in setting up the Experimental Cancer Therapeutics Unit ( ECRU) at NCCS which focuses on drug development and early phase oncology trials. ECRU is now one of the leading phase 1 trial units in Asia. I have led many clinical trials in gastrointestinal cancers and was Deputy Head of Clinical Trials and Epidemiological Sciences department of NCCS, which is one of the largest clinical trial centres in Singapore, before I became Chair of the Clinical Trials Steering Committee. I also set up the gastrointestinal database at NCCS and was adjunct Principal Investigator at the Singhealth Investigational Medicine Unit. I am a member of the Asia-Pacific Hepatocellular Cancer Trials Workgroup and was in the steering committee for the AHCC006 trial which was an international multicenter clinical trial on liver cancer led from Singapore. Research areas of particular interest include pancreatico-hepatobiliary cancers and immuno-oncology. I have received more than $4 million in grant awards for my research work as principal investigator including grants from the National Medical Research Council and received numerous other grants as co-investigator. I have publications in high impact journals like Lancet, Nature Genetics, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Annals of Oncology and Cancer Discovery. I have also presented my research work at numerous prestigious overseas meetings. In my administrative capacity, I have sat on various committees overseeing issues ranging from infection control, research space, public education, patient support and planning for the new cancer centre. I hold the positions of Adjunct Associate Professor, Singhealth Duke-NUS Oncology Academic Clinic Programme, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore and was Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Yong Loo Lin Medical School, National University of Singapore where I have done both research mentorship and clinical teaching. I believe strongly in the need to educate each other in the latest developments in oncology and have organized numerous oncology conferences including the Best of ASCO in Singapore, Asia-Pacific Liver Cancer Experts Meeting and the Asia-Pacific Gastroenterology Cancer Summit. I was Local Chair of the ESMO Asia conference in Singapore and co-chaired the ESMO preceptorship in Gastrointestinal Cancers in 2017 and 2018. I am also a member of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, Society of Geriatric Oncology Singapore and the European Society of Medical Oncology. Internationally, I have served on advisory boards of pharmaceutical companies for gastrointestinal cancer drug development, delivered lectures as an invited speaker at both national and international conferences including American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting and ESMO Asia. In particular, I was involved in the development of the first immune-oncology drug that was approved in liver cancer by US FDA. I am a committee member of Pan-Asia Adapted ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of patients with Hepatocellular Carcinoma and of the Asia-Pacific Liver Cancer Experts Consensus on Intermediate HCC. I am also an overseas external reviewer of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for hepatobiliary cancer and gallbladder cancer and have been a regular participant in the US NCI Hepatobiliary Cancers Taskforce Workgroup which oversees all national clinical trials for hepatobiliary cancers in the USA. I am currently an expert panel member of HCC Connect which develops educational programmes for healthcare professionals around the world in liver oncology. Learn more about me here: https://patients.smarterhealth.sg/specialist-doctor/choo-su-pin/ I am excited to be here to share/discuss Gastrointestinal Cancers with everyone. I will be actively answering questions. Whether you've got questions about gastrointestinal cancers including colorectal, upper gastrointestinal, pancreas, hepatobiliary, peritoneal, and anal cancers, ask me anything! === Want to ask a question? Submit your question at the bottom of this page. Don’t forget to include your name and email address to get notified when the doctor answers your question.
132 Answers
Joyce answered 2 years ago

My sister is 43 years old and is currently under remission from Stage 2A ovarian cancer. I read online that ovarian cancer has one of the highest recurrence rates. Is it true? How should we help her maintain her health so that it doesn't recur?

Eunice answered 2 years ago

Doctor, I often have recurring stomach ulcers. The last time I had an ulcer was last September, when I experience severe heartburn and stomach pain. I also vomited a lot due to the nausea. I am now experiencing it again and the medications don’t seem to work anymore. I’ve googled my symptoms and read that gastric cancer has similar symptoms. Is it possible that my ulcer has evolved to become cancerous? Why do I keep getting these stomach ulcers and is there anything I can do to prevent them from coming back?

Dr Choo Su-Pin replied 2 years ago

If you are having persistent symptoms of heartburn and pain and vomiting despite anti-gastric ulcer treatment, then you should be investigated. When was your last gastroscopy? Sometimes gastric cancer can present as ulcers in the stomach and the way to verify this is by biopsy-ing the ulcer during the scope. However benign ulcers do not become cancers unless there is underlying features like intestinal metaplasia or some risk factors like helicobacter pylori infection. If there is no recent scope, then it should be done coz of your persistent symptoms. Vomiting is not a good sign either

Lay Yan answered 2 years ago

I am a 65 year old male. My weight has been decreasing these two weeks since I lost my appetite. I feel full only after 2-3 spoonfuls of food. While I feel weak, I don’t feel any pain. I sometimes feel nauseous and will throw up. My biggest concern is that my father used to have gastric cancer. However, it was early stage and he went for surgery and was cured. Am I at risk of developing the same cancer? And do the symptoms I am having now point towards the possibility?

Dr Choo Su-Pin replied 2 years ago

You need to be seen by a doctor. You probably need blood tests and scopes and maybe even a scan

Eman answered 2 years ago

In April 2019, my grandfather was diagnosed with a gastric polyp. At that time, it was non-cancerous. Last week, he experienced similar symptoms and it appears his polyp has recurred. I’ve heard that if it recurs, then it may be cancerous. Am I over-worrying? Would you recommend another examination to check whether the polyp is cancerous?

Dr Choo Su-Pin replied 2 years ago

Gastric polyps do not become cancerous. It is not like colon polyps so nothing to worry about

Isaac answered 2 years ago

Is specks of blood in the vomit and pain in the right side of the stomach signs of gastric cancer? What do we need to do? My father is 59 years old and he is showing these signs. Is a gastroscopy enough?

Dr Choo Su-Pin replied 2 years ago

Vomiting blood is not a good sign. Needs to be seen by a doctor and scoped. May be bleeding from ulcers or other reasons . Not always cancer

Ramzy answered 2 years ago

I am 67 years old and have been experiencing heartburn. When I eat, I get full only after a small portion of food and I have so far lost close to 10kg in 2 weeks. I have also taken medicine for reflux but there is no improvement. I am also experiencing constipation. Do all these sound like symptoms of cancer?

dr. Lim Keng Hua replied 2 years ago

The early satiety and weight loss needs to be investigated by a doctor

Taufeeq answered 2 years ago

My grandfather is undergoing chemotherapy for his gastric cancer. However the chemotherapy drugs are causing gastric reflux symptoms for him. Is this a sign of his cancer getting worse?

dr. Lim Keng Hua replied 2 years ago

Yes depending on the chemotherapy, pls ask your oncologist

Lester answered 2 years ago

What are the signs of gastric cancer? I have been living with gastric reflux for more than 8 years. Is there any possibility it’ll develop into cancer?

Dr Choo Su-Pin replied 2 years ago

Gastric reflux may be a sign of cancer if it gets worse but it may not be too. . If there has been persistent reflux for a long while, it may be worth getting a scope to get a clearer picture of what’s happening in the stomach

Jerome answered 2 years ago

My mother in law is 74 years old. Currently, she cannot swallow anything without throwing up. We noticed there were blood spots in her vomit. She also complains about feeling pain in her abdomen. Are these signs of cancer?

Dr Choo Su-Pin replied 2 years ago

It may or may not be cancer. She needs to see a doctor. Pls schedule this as soon as possible

Darlene Tan answered 2 years ago

I am still undergoing treatment for my peptic ulcer disease. It has been 3 years since I was diagnosed and the ulcer keeps recurring. What is the best examination or test to find out the root cause behind the ulcer? I am 50 years old and male. There is cancer history in my family but not stomach cancer. My uncle died from colon cancer at the age of 58.

Dr Choo Su-Pin replied 2 years ago

Peptic ulcer disease is very common in the population and does not mean there is cancer.Common Causes of peptic ulcer disease include Helicobacter pylori infection in the stomach- can be tested by GP. And use of NSAIDs

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