Ask an Oncologist: Dr Aqilah Othman from Sunway Medical Centre Malaysia

Ask a Doctor ForumCategory: OncologyAsk an Oncologist: Dr Aqilah Othman from Sunway Medical Centre Malaysia
dr. Aqilah Othman asked 1 year ago
I am Dr. Aqilah Othman, Oncologist at Sunway Medical Centre based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

My clinical focus includes:

  • Systemic therapy for adult cancers
  • Radiotherapy

My procedure focus includes:

  • Systemic anti-cancer therapy: Chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone/endocrine therapy, immunotherapy
  • Radiotherapy: External beam radiotherapy, IMRT, VMAT, SABR/SBRT

My educational qualifications include:

  • Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) in Clinical Oncology, United Kingdom
  • Fellow of Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR), United Kingdom
  • Member of Royal College of Physicians (MRCP), United Kingdom
  • University of Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

I currently hold memberships in the European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology (ESTRO) and the United Kingdom Breast Cancer Group.

Learn more about Sunway Medical Centre here:

Learn more about me here:

I am excited to be here to share/discuss Oncology and Cancer Care with everyone. Ask me anything!


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12 Answers
Bella Prina answered 1 year ago
Doctor, in 2018, I had surgery to remove a cyst from my breast. After that, I routinely checked in with a doctor and my condition was fine. But this month, I felt a new lump on my breast. I am afraid this time the lump is malignant. Does someone who had a cyst have a higher risk of breast cancer, Doc?
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

Breast cysts don't increase the risk of breast cancer. However, any new breast lump should always be investigated to be certain of the nature of the breast lump.

Orin Sulistia answered 1 year ago
My mother is a cancer survivor. She had a mastectomy for one of her breasts. Thank God she is healthy now. However, despite my gratitude, I worry about inheriting the same disease. What should I do to avoid cancer? I am now 28. My lifestyle is normal, not so healthy. I quit smoking 2 years ago. Please give me your advice, Doc, since I heard that someone with a family history of cancer is at higher risk.
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

Thank you for your question. If your mother was above 40 years old when she was diagnosed and you do not have any other immediate family members being diagnosed with cancer, it is unlikely that you have an inherited genetic predisposition to the condition. With regards to reducing your risk of cancer, you have done the right thing by stopping smoking for a start. Well done! Other lifestyle measures that will help in reducing the risks of cancer are maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise and a good diet rich in vegetables and fruits, avoiding processed and fatty food as much as possible.

Also, learn to do breast self examination. Be aware of any changes in your body and seek medical attention promptly should something be persistently amiss. Additionally I would suggest enrolling in your local cancer screening programmes when you have met the criterias. In general you should start cervical cancer screening from age 25 if sexually active, breast and colorectal cancer screening from the age of 45.

Cita Sukma answered 1 year ago
My oldest sister had stage-2 ovarian cancer. Her doctor said her ovary should be removed. My question is, what is the risk of having her ovary removed?
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

Hi, having the ovaries, fallopian tubes and endometrium removed will impact on fertility. If she is post menopausal or not planning on having further children, then fertility would not be an issue. If she is pre menopausal, depending on her age, she is at risk of early menopause whereby certain measures can be undertaken to relieve her symptoms as necessary and pre-empt other future risks such as osteoporosis. Her surgeon will be able to explain the specific surgical risks that are involved in relation to the procedure itself.

Sam answered 1 year ago
Is it true that if both of the ovaries don’t function, it can lead to cancer and finally the removal of the womb? Is there any other solution? Please give your advice, Doc. Thanks
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

Sorry, can you explain the cause of the ovaries not working? Thank you.

lukita answered 1 year ago
There are several lumps that appear on my body, such as on the neck, near the armpit, and on my back. The lumps don’t hurt and are a bit hard. I am worried because there are online articles that say these are cancer symptoms.
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

Hi, thank you for your question. This definitely needs to be investigated. Do make an appointment with your local doctor to be assessed.

nurul answered 1 year ago
Doctor, is it possible to breastfeed in the future after having lumpectomy?
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

Yes, breastfeeding is possible after lumpectomy and on completion of cancer treatment.

Fahrani answered 1 year ago
Doctor, what are the side effects of hormonal therapy for breast cancer?
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

Hormonal treatment in breast cancer reduces the amount of oestrogen and progesterone in oestrogen/progesterone receptor positive breast cancer. Therefore the common side effects encountered are generally similar to those going through menopause for example fatigue, hot flushes, sweats, arthralgia, dry skin and mood swings. Different hormone medications will have variations in side effect profiles hence depending on an individual's age, co-morbidities and biology of the tumour, a certain type of hormonal treatment may be preferred over the other.

Siska Jauhari answered 1 year ago
I want to ask – if I have undergone surgery and chemotherapy is suggested to me, can I do immunotherapy?
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

It depends on the type and stage of your cancer

Helen Apriani answered 1 year ago
Doctor, what are the signs of lymph gland disease? And where is the lymph node located?
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

Lymph nodes are located throughout your body therefore a disease that affects the nodes can technically manifest anywhere along the nodal chain in the body. These are usually more noticeable in palpable and visible areas such as the neck, armpits or groin. Signs and symptoms suggesting that these nodes are cancerous include persistent swelling of the lymph nodes, fatigue, fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath and itchy skin amongst others. Best to get any new persistent swelling in the body or persistent symptoms assessed by a medical professional.

Desi answered 1 year ago
Is there any food that a cancer patient should not eat?
dr. Aqilah Othman
replied 1 year ago

The advice on a healthy diet stands ie plenty of fruits and vegetables, reduce consumption of food rich in fat, red meat, alcohol and avoid processed foods and refined sugar. Depending on the treatment there may be some specific dietary advice that needs to be adhered to as for example some may have a malabsorption issue following treatment therefore certain food may irritate their digestive system and precipitate symptoms like diarrhoea etc.

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