Mr Tan Tai Jong was diagnosed with stage 3 prostate cancer in 2009.

TJ Website

Mr Tan went for a checkup at the polyclinic after a casual remark from his sister-in-law at his uncle’s wake. Both his father and uncle passed away of prostate cancer. At that time they did not offer a blood test service and he was referred to Tan Tock Seng hospital to see an urologist.

His mind went blank upon hearing the news from the Doctor and about all the treatment options. He needed to take a day to digest all these. He went back and did some research on his own to understand what was going on. He came to terms with it and was mentally prepared for what was coming.

He is now in the 10th year of remission. “I just dealt with it. I knew what needed to be done and I was prepared for it. I had to go through 25 sessions of radiotherapy I wake up in the morning, go to work and then go for my radiation therapy in the afternoon. I repeat this cycle all over again. I just carried on with my normal life as much as I could,” said Mr Tan.

During the treatment he advocated for support groups for prostate cancer as there were no support groups for prostate cancer survivors at that time. “I wanted to talk to the other patients, but the nurses stopped me saying it was personal and it should be between the patient and a Doctor. But we are all on the same boat,” added Mr Tan.

In August 2011, he received a letter in regards to start a support group. He was one of the founding members of the prostate cancer support group in Tan Tock Seng Hospital. In 2013, he was part of the team that founded the Walnut Warrior in SCS. “There was less than 10 of us who started the support group for prostate cancer in SCS. Now we have more than 170 members in the SCS Walnut Warriors Support Group,” said Mr Tan.

The support group provides psychosocial support and encouragement to not only the members but also the caregivers (usually the wives). Mr Tan and the senior members in the group have helped many members to cope with their condition.

When asked what advise he has for other cancer patients out there, he said, “First and foremost, one must accept the fact that you a cancer patient. One is always fearful of the unknown. Read up or talk to people to find out as much you can on prostate cancer. Take positive action whenever you can. Don’t wallow in self-pity and negativity.”

About SCS Walnut Warriors

Walnut Warriors reaches out to men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. This support group provides psychosocial support and encouragement to its members. It helps them make the transition in life by enhancing their well-being through therapeutic and enrichment programmes.

Find out more or register for the Walnut Warrior Support Group here: https://bit.ly/2kr6QTA


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