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Monday, 30 May 2016

Caring for Breast Cancer Victims & Survivors

“Just because you’ve got (breast) cancer doesn’t mean you lose your femininity.”

By Dessirae Foo | WD Unique, Cancare Sabah

Most women who have just undergone a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast) are forced to deal with a body image that is completely different from their previous one. Feelings of inadequacy and loss of feminity are the most common underlying issues that constantly prey on a breast cancer patient mentally, emotionally and physically.

WD Unique was one of the first of its kind in Sabah, offering pre and post-operative ladies the opportunity to come to a specialist shop, where all the products and services are designed specifically for use after mastectomy.

Our mission is to provide a safe, comfortable and tranquil environment with a social conscience.

I wanted to be able to provide these products as I know it is currently not easy to find them in Sabah. My biggest goal is to create a place where women with cancer can also seek professional advice and personalized service in a friendly caring manner.

The products available at WD Unique include breast prostheses, mastectomy bras, post-operative surgical bras, compression sleeves, mastectomy swim wear, lingerie, aromatherapy products, chemical-free hair products, soaps and shower gels, non-metallic deodorants.

For women undergoing chemotherapy, we also stock cotton hats, scarves and synthetic wigs, real hair wigs and bra accessories as well as books on nutrition and women’s health issues. We cater services and items to ease the journey from pre-surgery to post surgery, during chemotherapy, during radiotherapy and empowerment for Life after Breast Cancer.

WD Unique is a place with high priority on privacy, women will be glad to know. We have large private changing rooms where customers can take their time to try on different products. As a qualified fitter I am able to identify different breast shapes and sizes and then suggest a prosthesis that closely matches the remaining breast. 

If both breasts have been removed, we would recommend a pair of prostheses, which is more flattering to the individual’s dimensions. If someone’s had a mastectomy two weeks before, I wouldn’t encourage a prosthesis fitting. This is because the surgical wound may not have fully healed. It would take at least six to eight weeks before they can be fitted to prevent further inflammation.

After that, we will be measuring the bra size to make sure both sides are even and measurements are taken from the middle of the rib cage to the middle of the chest wall. The common breast shapes are triangle, round and teardrop. The bras are then adapted to suit individual needs. For example, younger women prefer firmer breasts,” she explains.

My mother (diagnosed with breast cancer) and I went through the trouble to look for the things that WD Unique is now offering. Therefore, we are so specialized that we know exactly what the women need when they visit our store.

With WD Unique, we hope to ensure that their journey to recovery will be less frightening, full of hope and support so that they are able to make a difference and can get back to their daily routine as fast as possible after the treatment. 

Getting diagnosed with breast cancer, is not a death sentence. “Just because you’ve got (breast) cancer doesn’t mean you lose your femininity and with products like prosthesis, you almost feel normal again.”

Benefits of Wearing Breast Prosthesis 

A fitted prothesis restores body’s natural balance by avoiding side effects after mastectomy surgery. The side effects are caused by uneven weight distribution after surgical removal of the breast such as curved back spine, looped shoulder, shoulder pain or frozen shoulder and lower back pain.

*FREE Application Service
*Open for Female Breast Cancer Patients
*JPA Applications for Government Staff

For more information, please contact: 088-281 774 or 017-832 7774

WD Unique | Cancare Sabah
Wisma Wanita, Lot M-09, Mezzanin Floor,
Jalan Tuaran, 88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Opening Hours:
Monday - Friday from 9.00am to 6.30pm
Saturday and Sunday (Call for Appointment)

Follow on Facebook: Cancare Sabah

Monday, 23 May 2016

Liver Cancer: Symptoms and Prevention

By Dr. Nerenthran Loganathan
Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist
KPJ Sabah Specialist Hospital


Liver cancer or also known as Hepatoma / hepatocellular carcinoma has been on the rise and is now a leading cause of cancers in the world according to the recent detailed health screening program conducted by the Ministry of Health Malaysia. According to the research, liver cancer is the third highest leading cause of cancer death and has been identified to be the cause of death in about 250,000 to 1,000,000 people worldwide.

Two of the root causes have been identified as the Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections which were estimated to cause around 80% of the total cases of reported liver cancer.

To date, the highest recorded incidences of liver cancer in East Asia are from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Based on our own local Malaysian National Cancer registry, the incidence of liver cancer is 2.8/100,000 population in peninsular Malaysia and it had been identified as 1 out of the 10 leading cancers among the male population. Factors and genetic characteristics of the Asian populations might also have a predetermining factor.

It is estimated that as much as 5.2% of our population is suffering from chronic Hepatitis B and 2% from Hepatitis C. Most of them are healthy carriers of the disease and are unaware that they have the highest risk of developing iver cancer. These are the population who will develop chronic liver disease which in time will progress to hardening or scarring of the liver known as liver cirrhosis if not treated early. There is an annual incidence of about 5% of liver cirrhosis patients developing liver cancer.

Besides Hepatitis B and C, other causes of liver cirrhosis includes;

1. Chronic alcohol consumption
2. Fatty Liver or also known as NASH (Nonalcoholic steato-hepatitis)
3. Diabetes Mellitus
4. Certain rare autoimmune diseases like Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Autoimmune Hepatitis, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis
5. Obesity
6. Hemochromatosis
7. Wilson’s disease
8. Prolonged use of steroids
9. Fungal infection – prolonged exposure to aflatoxin produced by this fungus
10. Consuming arsenic contaminated water in certain countries.


People suffering from Liver cancer may not have any symptoms at the early stages, however here are some of the symptoms;

• Abdominal Pain especially at the right upper abdominal area.
• Decease in effort tolerance, easy fatigability, loss of weight, loss of appetite and unexplained fever.
• Abdominal Swelling especially at the right upper quadrant of the stomach.
• Jaundice – yellowish discoloration of the skin, eyes and passing dark urine.
• Back ache or bone pain due to spread of the cancer to the bones.
• Ascites – abdominal distension due to accumulation of fluid in the stomach.
• Vomiting blood – due to rupture of blood vessels in the esophagus (food pipe) or stomach.
• Poor appetite.
• Early satiety – fullness after eating a small meal.
• Pain at the left shoulder – referred pain.
• Abdominal discomfort.
• Nausea.

When the persons have these above mentioned symptoms, it is usually in the late stages of the disease. There is not much treatment which may be offered at this stage except symptomatic treatment and palliative care. That is why it is imperative that we detect early cancer so that it may be promptly treated and a possible cure obtained. How we do that is to screen all the high risk population.

Those who are Hepatitis B/C carriers should visit their local doctors and get an ultrasonography of the liver, liver function test and alpha feto-protein (cancer marker) blood test every 6 monthly for life. A computerized tomography (CT scan) of the liver or a Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the liver is required once there in an abnormality detected from the above tests to confirm the presence of liver cancer and initiate appropriate early treatment.


Patients suffering from liver cancer may exhibit the following complications:

1. Haematemesis (Vomiting blood)
– as a sequalle of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer , these patients develop a condition called portal hypertension and as a result there is enlargement of blood vessels in the esophagus, stomach, duodenum( small intestine) . When this blood vessel ruptures it will cause hematemesis (vomiting blood) and this could be life threatening.

2. Abdominal pain as a result of bleeding within the liver cancer and bacterial infection of the abdominal fluid known as spontaneous bacterial Peritonitis.

3. Abdominal pain due to enlarged liver compressing the adjacent organs.

4. Jaundice - yellow discoloration of skin and eyes due to high bile pigment levels in the blood.

5. Confusion and coma due to a condition called hepatic encephalopathy where there is high level of ammonia in the blood.


The treatment for liver cancer is divided in a few stages. Early detection is crucial and the key to a successful treatment. If the patient presents in the late or advanced stage of liver cancer, there is no option for curative treatment except palliative care which is supportive treatment, relief of pain, nutritional support and end of life care.

For those patients who are detected early, the options of surgery for a potential cure is highly possible depending on the stage of the disease and overall condition of the liver. This surgery called hepatic segmentectomy or hepatectomy which is usually done by removing the segment of the liver affected or even removal half of the liver.

For those patients with poor liver reserve or function and who have multiple medical conditions where surgery is too high of a risk or where surgery is not possible, they have other options like TACE (Trans Arterial Chemo Embolization) – directly injecting chemotherapy into the liver cancer or Radio-Frequency Ablation therapy- Using high intensity Radio frequency to burn the cancer. Another option for treatment is a liver transplant.


Patients suffering from liver cancer on the whole has underlying liver cirrhosis or are a hepatitis B/C carrier. Therefore the best method of prevention is Hepatitis B vaccination, early screening for hepatitis C and regular blood monitoring for other conditions leading to liver cirrhosis like fatty liver.

Those who are carriers of Hepatitis B/C should restraint form alcohol, smoking, unrecognized traditional herbal treatments, direct sales supplements and requires regular visits to a doctor for surveillance. Finally if there is any history of liver cancer in the family, all family members related should go for a blood screening for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.


Lot No.2, Off Jalan Damai,Luyang, 88300 Kota Kinabalu,Sabah, Malaysia. 
Tel: 088-322 000 | Emergency: 088-322 199

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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Kota Kinabalu's Ballerina Seeks To Inspire More Young Dancers

Monday, 16 May 2016

Pets in Family

By Dr. Cecilia Boklin | Doctor of Veterinary Medicine | Kinabalu Animal Clinic

The Benefits of Pets in a Family Institution

Children love animals - their pets especially, and for good reasons. Animals offer a special kind of bond with them, with companionship and often delights. Caring for animals teaches children responsibility and empathy. Along with these, presence of animals in and around the house helps foster children’s emotional, cognitive, social and physical development.

Animals can be a great sense of comfort. Children often turn to their pets when they feel sad, angry, afraid or when they have a secret to share. An animal also gives a child something to talk about and a shared interest with other kids.

Having pets can help build family bonds. Most children and parents consider their pets as part of the family. Animal often becomes the focus of activities that families do together and this helps families grow stronger and closer. Taking a dog for a walk, grooming and feeding them, or getting down on the floor and playing with a cat offer the wonderful potential of slowing down the pace of modern life.

If you have a child with allergies, it is beneficial to get allergy testing done to determine the substances that might trigger an allergic response in your child, and it will help to rule out additional allergies which could be caused by a pet’s diet or bedding. This will also help a family to make an informed decision about what type of pet to have.

Responsible Pet Ownership

The benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities. To be a responsible pet owner, a family must be able to give a full commitment. When selecting a pet, choose a pet that is suited to your home and lifestyle. Keep only the type and number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and most importantly, companionship.

All family members should commit to the relationship for the life of the pet. Appropriate exercise and mental stimulation (enrichment activities) should be provided. It is important to also properly socialize and train your pet to encourage bonding.

Hygiene is of utmost importance when owning a pet. Always clean up after your pet and do not allow your pet to stray or become feral. Limit your pet’s reproduction through neuterization, containment or managed breeding. Pet owners must also obey local ordinances, including licensing, leash requirements and noise control.

Pet ownership requires an investment of time, energy and also money. It is very important to ensure that a pet receives preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.) as well as care for any illnesses or injuries. Always set aside a budget for potential emergencies. Pet owners should prepare alternate arrangements if they can no longer provide care for the pet.

Last but not least, as responsible pet owners, family members must be attentive to any decline in the pet’s quality of life and be able to make timely decisions in consultation with a qualified veterinarian.

Vaccination Plan

Dog Vaccination (10 in 1)

1) Canine Adenovirus 1
2) Canine Adenovirus 2
3) Canine Coronavirus Enteritis
4) Canine Distemper
5) Canine Parainfluenza
6) Canine Parvovirus
7) Canine Leptospirosis (L.canicola)
8) Canine Leptospirosis (L.grippotyphosa)
9) Canine Leptospirosis (L.icterohaemorrhagiae)
10) Canine Leptospirosis (L.pomona)

Cat Vaccination (4 in 1)

1) Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR) caused by Feline Herpesvirus-1
2) Respiratory disease caused by Feline Calicivirus (FCV)
3) Feline Panleukopenia (FPL) caused by Feline Parvovirus (FPV)
4) Feline Chlamydiosis caused by Chlamydia psittaci.

Lot 6, Lorong Durian 3, Kian Yap Industrial Estate, 88450 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
Contact: 088-385 804

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Mommy, my tummy hurts!!! Abdominal Pain in Children

By Dr. Alvin Khoh | Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist | Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital

Abdominal pain in children is a common occurrence. Thankfully, in most cases, it is not caused by a serious condition. Irregardless, it does cause a lot of discomfort and distress to both the child and the family. It tends to interfere with the child’s daily activities, including schooling and other play activities.

Abdominal pain can happen suddenly or developed slowly over time. Most often, it is associated with other symptoms e.g.. vomiting, diarrhoea or fever.

The causes of abdominal pain in children are quite diverse. Among the more common cause may be food related (too much food, fizzy drinks or food poisoning), constipation or even viral infection (including gastroenteritis, causing vomiting and diarrhoea).

Other causes includes:
• Gastritis
• Heartburn
• Food allergy
• Appendicitis
• Urine infection
• Period pain in girls

In some children, the cause of abdominal pain may not be easily diagnosed at the onset. Over time, as more symptoms appear, it becomes more obvious. Thus it is very important for the child to be closely followed-up by their regular doctor in these instances.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Depending on the signs and symptoms that your child has, your doctor may order some tests: e.g.. blood, urine, x-ray or ultrasound. However, in most cases, investigations are not needed.

Similarly, treatment depends on the cause of the abdominal pain. Pain relief such as paracetamol are commonly used if needed. Antibiotics and gastric medications are used when necessary. If appendicitis is suspected, then your child may require surgery.

My child has been having abdominal pain for a long time!!

Some children have recurrent abdominal pains for months without any obvious cause. These children are usually healthy looking and growing well. This phenomenon is usually described as functional abdominal pain” and is not caused by any serious disease.

However, the pain tends to interfere with their daily activities, including school. It is usually triggered by stress or significant emotional events in life. These can cause the brain to send “excessive signals” to the nerves in the gut- thus causing the pain.It is important to recognise that the pain is real to the child, and not to brush it away by calling it “attention-seeking” behaviour.

These children should be assessed and managed by a specialist doctor thoroughly to ensure that they are not suffering from any significant disease.

When to seek help from a doctor?

If the pain or problem persists more than 1 day, it is best to seek medical advice. Seek help urgently if your child has the following:

• Has severe pain, frequent pain or the pain has moved
• Does not want to move
• Becomes pale, sweaty, lethargic or has high fever
• Refuses to drink fluids
• Vomiting > 24 hours and unable to keep fluids down
• Blood in the vomit or stools
• Recent injury to the abdomen (eg. falling down from bicycle, sports-related etc)

What can you do if your child develops abdominal pain?

Many children with abdominal pain get better quickly without any specific treatment. It is advisable for them to get lots of rest. The following may also help your child:

• Encourage your child to drink fluids
• If hungry, let your child eat what they want, or offer bland food - eg. biscuit, banana, porridge
• Do not force feed
• Encourage sitting on the toilet - passing motion may help
• Rubbing a child’s tummy gently and distract them (eg story telling)
• Paracetamol may be used (in the correct dosing)


Many children get abdominal pain, and most get better by themselves. Often, no cause can be found and at other times, the cause only becomes more obvious with time. Seeking timely help is important in managing these children, especially if they are unwell.

For more information, please contact Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital at 088-518 888.
Address: Riverson@Sembulan, Block A-1, Lorong Riverson@Sembulan, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. For Emergency, please call 088-518 911

Benefits of Infant Massage & Hydrotherapy From Birth

The benefits of infant massage have been enjoyed in other cultures for centuries, and now parents in Sabah can learn the techniques to help their babies enjoy this gift of loving touch as well. Learning infant massage is made easy with a certified infant massage instructor to guide you through each stroke diligently until you are confident in using these simple techniques.

Baby massage in Little Penyu is usually taught in a small group setting, or alternatively, parents can opt for a private individual session in Little Penyu or at the comfort of your home. Each session will run over a course of 4-5 weeks period (once a week), so that parents can learn the strokes gradually and to allow babies time to adjust to being massaged.

*Little Penyu infant massage instructors are experienced and they are Certified Infant Massage Instructors with the International Association of Infant Massage.

- Assist to relieve gas, colic, constipation or teething pain and Improve sleep patterns.
- Reduce stress hormones and promotes happy hormones especially in lactating mothers.
- Increased flexibility and muscle tone.
- Promoting bonding, secure attachment, feelings of love, respect and being valued.

Kids SPA

With Kids Spa, the adventure begins with a warm feet soak, a gentle homemade feet scrub, a yummy chocolate/honey homemade face mask, manicure & pedicure (Mermaid) / nail trimming (His Royal Highness) and a fun 15-20 minutes of jacuzzi time!

Hydrotherapy From Birth

Finding ways to effectively bondwith your baby can be challenging especially for busy working parents. When you do have time, there is only so much you can do especially with babies who are in their pre-crawling stage. This is where Little Penyu comes in. Little Penyu Baby Swim Spa is the first baby swim spa in Sabah providing indoor hydrotherapy (floatation and exercise in water) and swimming service for babies as early as 0 month without the risk of harsh chlorinated water and the outdoor elements.

Water therapy from birth is fantastic for baby’s brain health and physical development even before they start crawling. It utilizes their whole body movement and also assists baby to sleep and eat better. In each hydrotherapy session, the more your baby uses his/her brain and muscles, the stronger they will grow.

As your baby kicks around in the water, the small rocking waves he/ she creates will help to improve their balance and coordination and, ultimately, support their ability to crawl, walk and swim. Even if your baby falls asleep in the water, that rocking motion will continue with his/her rhythmic breathing.

Nurturing bonds especially for busy parents is important for us. At Little Penyu, every parent is encouraged to be hands on; from the baby warm up session to dressing them up. Our trained physiotherapist will guide and demonstrate every movement to make sure it is done safely and correctly.

- Muscular and skeletal strength is increased through the water’s gentle resistance.
- Subtle water pressure on the chest can increase lung capacity by strengthening intercostal muscles and the respiratory system.
- Regular visits can benefit the cardiovascular system.
- Innate swimming reflexes are stimulated and co-ordination is developed as they learn to control their movements.

Little Penyu Baby Swim Spa, 
Lot J-1-5, 1st Floor, Block J, (In Front of Lucy's Kitchen),
Lorong Metro Town, Jalan Bunga Ulam Raja,
88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

For enquiries, please call 088-383 639 or visit today. Follow them on Facebook!

Can Your Baby Hear?

By Dr. Gavin Coad | Audiologist | Jesselton Medical Centre

Most children hear from birth, they learn to talk by imitating the sounds around them and the voices of their family. It is very difficult for parents to notice hearing loss in their baby, often the child is using their other senses to know what is going on around them. Only when the child does not develop speech do parents usually start to worry.

I often see children in clinic at around 3 years of age with speech delay, these parents have similar stories of a family member that was late to start talking so they thought everything would be fine.

Unfortunately, it is very hard for these children to catch up on this lost time and development. The first 2 or 3 years of life are critical for brain development; it is very important that a child has access to language very early in life. If a child is left too long with an undiagnosed hearing loss it will lead to delay in cognitive and language development in early childhood and to difficulties at school.

Research suggests that children with hearing loss who get help early develop better language skills than those who do not. Early detection with newborn hearing screening is essential in order to prevent language delays.

On average about 2 or 3 out of every 1000 babies are born with hearing loss, making it the one of the most common birth defects. The World Health Organisation recommends all babies have their hearing screened before they are a one month old, diagnosed by 3 months and receive intervention services by 6 months of age.


Two types of hearing screening tests are used:

1. Otoacoustic Emissions (OAE)
2. Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR).
Each test takes around five minutes and will not cause your baby any pain. Many babies sleep through the screening.


If your baby fails the hearing screening test, it does not necessarily mean that she has any hearing loss, but it does mean that more testing is required. It’s important that your baby has a repeat screen within 1 or 2 weeks of the failed test.

Babies sometimes fail the first test because they have ear wax in the ear canal, or fluid in the middle ear, or because they were too noisy during the test (crying or restless).

Many babies who fail the first screening go on to pass follow-up testing. Typically, if a baby does not pass the hearing screening tests, she will be referred to an audiologist to do more complete tests to find out whether it does have hearing loss. If you are not sure if you baby has had their hearing tested ask your doctor or see an audiologist for a hearing test.


1. Full Range of Hearing Tests -
Children and Adults (VRA, CPA, OAE, CPA, Tympanometry and AR)

2. Hearing Aids – Children and Adults
(with REM)

3. Tinnitus Assessment

4. Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) –
Natural sleep or under sedation.

We are the only private centre providing this full range of tests in Sabah. For more information, please call 088-366 333.

Jesselton Medical Centre

Jalan Metro 2, Metro Town, Off Jalan Lintas, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Tel: +6088 366333
Emergency Hotline (24x7): +6088 366399
GPS: 5.975581°N, 116.112438°E
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