Sam Ho was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in March 2017. After a visit to the urologist as part of his routine health screening, he was immediately told that he had an enlarged prostate and raised Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) scores. The cancer was eventually confirmed after a biopsy.


This was undoubtedly a piece of difficult news for Sam to receive. Fortunately, after opting for surgery based on his instincts and his urologist, he is now cancer-free. So far, his indicators and blood tests results are all good and he considers himself to be very lucky. Sam now volunteers at SCS as a Patient Ambassador and has also signed up as a Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) Patient Ambassador for prostate surgery cases as well.


sam ho


Sam came to find out about the prostate cancer support group, known as Walnut Warriors (WW), via the SCS website. Over the course of 4 years of volunteering as a Patient Ambassador, Sam told us that he has met many happy warriors who still had ‘plenty of zest for life’ despite their conditions.

During WW meetings, Sam would listen to new visitors sharing their stories. He would then approach those who are considering the surgery option and introduce himself as someone who can share with them what they can expect. Sam also shares about his own journey battling cancer to new patients as well. Oftentimes, all Sam had to do was be a good listener and offer emotional support. This allows patients to feel comfortable asking questions pertaining to their condition.

Having gone through this daunting process and lived through similar experiences, Sam would then offer his perspectives or opinions regarding the questions or even suggest patients to consider a second opinion with an oncologist if they’re uncertain about their treatment options. Ultimately, the patient would be the one to make the final decision. Finally, when a patient has completed his surgery and made good recovery, Sam and the patient would then come out for coffee or have a celebratory ‘makan’ session to mark the end of a tough time.

Sam expressed that he would have loved to have met an ambassador to tell him what to expect, look out for and to calm his nerves when he was newly diagnosed. He told us that throughout his cancer journey, he realised that usually, the doctors are too busy to explain too many things to you, and stated that “…for real good reference, knowledge and experience, nothing beats a fellow patient, who has just walked the same path that you are going to go through.” Sam recalled an experience as an ambassador with a patient who could only speak Cantonese. Sam told us that as a Cantonese himself, he was able to connect very well with the patient and gave him the support that he needed. Sam was also able to calm the patient down when he had certain minor post-surgery complications.

According to Sam, anyone and everyone can volunteer if they have a passion to help others who are in a similar situation where they share similar fears and hopes. Ambassadors are there to offer a beacon of hope to new patients through their own personal journey of how they have overcome cancer. Not only that, through WW meetings, meaningful friendships can be forged as well. Sam believes that sharing his personal journey is one of the best ways to give back. It is one way of patient advocacy to help fellow patients overcome their conditions while staying positive. Sam says that this is especially true for prostate cancer which can be a long-drawn journey for most patients but with several treatment options and successes.

One message that Sam remembered well was ‘we must focus on living and living well’

SCS welcomes anyone who is interested to give back and join us to become a Patient Ambassador. Currently, Patient Ambassadors are connecting with their paired patients via phone calls or text messages.


The article was written by SCS volunteer Geetha Thayalan.

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