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As the leading organisation in the fight against cancer, Singapore Cancer Society (SCS) understands the anxiety in cancer patients about getting the COVID-19 vaccination. Although the vaccination is voluntary, SCS encourages eligible patients to receive the vaccine, when possible. SCS is in alignment with the COVID-19 guidelines from the Ministry of Health. Since the health situation varies from person to person, patients should discuss the risks factors and benefits of getting the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor. Through a holistic care system, SCS will continue to render the needed emotional and psychosocial support to maintain the well-being of our beneficiaries throughout this phase.

 

Can persons with active cancer be vaccinated?

Persons with active cancer who are on treatment with chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy CAN be vaccinated in a hospital setting, after assessment by their treating specialists.

Based on the experts’ advice, active cancer on treatment can be defined as:

  • Individuals have undergone treatment in the past three months
  • Individuals have planned to undergo in the next two months

Persons with a history of cancer, who are in remission, CAN be vaccinated.

Persons on active cancer hormonal therapy CAN be vaccinated.

The Expert Committee on COVID-19 Vaccination will be finalising the guidelines on vaccination for cancer patients on treatment, including those who consult private specialists, and will provide further updates when ready.

Adapted from MOH website

 

How can the vaccine affect my condition?

 

While there is still limited data with regards to how effective these vaccines would be in patients with active cancer and who are on immunosuppressive therapies, there is general consensus by experts in the field to suggest that these vaccines are safe for use in cancer patients and the benefits of getting the vaccine outweigh the risks associated with it. All the leading international oncology societies' guidelines strongly recommend that all cancer patients should receive the Covid-19 vaccination where possible. There is no data at present to show that COVID- 19 vaccination has any impact on the patients' cancers.

 

Should people with cancer get a specific COVID-19 vaccine?

The two vaccines that are now available in Singapore have been shown to be effective at both lowering the risk of getting COVID-19, as well as the risk of getting severe disease if you are infected.

At this time, there is no specific recommendation  with respect to getting one type of COVID-19 vaccine over the other, either for cancer patients (or cancer survivors) or for other people. Many health experts believe that getting the vaccine once it becomes available to you is most important, rather than waiting to get a specific vaccine.

It is best to talk with your cancer doctor before getting any type of vaccine.

 

What if I have breast cancer or a history of breast cancer?

 

Some may experience enlarged/swollen lymph nodes after the Covid-19 vaccination. Because a swollen lymph node under the arm can also be a sign of breast cancer spread, most doctors recommend that people with breast cancer or a history of breast cancer get the injection in the arm on the opposite side of the affected breast.

 

Could the vaccine cause issues if I’m getting a mammogram?

Some people may experience enlarged/swollen lymph nodes after the Covid-19 vaccination, and this may affect the interpretation of the mammogram results. While not everyone will experience post-vaccine symptoms, women are encouraged to schedule their mammogram appointment before the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination or at least four to six weeks after the final vaccine dose.

Discuss with your doctor if you are need to go for a mammogram soon after you get the vaccine. Your doctor will be able to advise on the situation. We advise patients not to delay mammogram without seeking doctor’s advice.

 

Do I still need to take precautions if I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You should still continue to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others. Please follow the government’s guidelines.

 

Where can I get more information about COVID-19 vaccines?

Please refer to MOH website: https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19/vaccination

 
Testimonials from Cancer Survivors Who Have Taken the Vaccince

 

 

quote profile mr teo

 "The next day after my first jab, I did a 3km brisk walk. Although I heard from others that side effects will be worse after the second jab I did not experience anything unbearable. Initially, I was a bit concerned. But getting myself protected was more important as I do not want to face the risks by not getting vaccinated once Covid-19 measures are eased – which I hope will one day."

- Mr Teo Khee Huat, colorectal cancer survivor

 
 
 
 

quote ellil

 

"I am a double-cancer survivor of 10 years. As I have no active cancer in my body, and am not presently undergoing any treatment I was told by my doctor that it is safe to take the vaccine. I have just taken my second dose. To protect myself. To protect my family. To protect my friends. And to protect my Singaporean brothers and sisters."

- Mr Ellil Mathiyan, colorectal cancer survivor

 
 
 
 

quote ellil

 

"I experienced no side effects at all after my Covid-19 vaccination. After both jabs of the vaccine, I was still able to continue exercising as per usual. I hope everyone will work together to defeat this virus and would like to encourage all cancer patients and survivors to get vaccinated."

- Mr Tee Poh Huat, tongue and throat cancer survivor

  

 
 
 
 
 

quote ellil

 "I was diagnosed with high-risk Stage 4 Prostate Cancer in April 2019 with metastasis into the Hip bone. Prior to the Covid-19 Vaccination, I had checked with my physician and he assured me that I can be vaccinated. The day after the first vaccination, I participated in a Table Tennis Competition that I organised even with a slight strain on my left arm. The nurse on my 2nd dose was very skilled as I did not feel any pain but had slight fever on the next day. I need to protect myself, my family and those that I meet. I understand that though the vaccinations are not foolproof, if diagnosed, the symptoms will be less severe and can also protect those around me. I am a cancer survivor!"

- Francis Koh, prostate cancer survivor 

 
 
 
 
 

quote serene

 "I It is just so important to get vaccinated to protect myself and my loved ones! I was very worried as there were talks of people experiencing various side effects. However, all turned out well for me despite having slight soreness. Remember not to dwell on possible side effects or the experiences of others. Instead, carry on your daily activities and chores as usual. As I ploughed on with my daily exercises, it helped to combat the fatigue that could have been an effect of the jab. Doing so successfully redirected my focus!

- Serene Ong, breast cancer survivor