· Hong Kong-based H.S. Chau Foundation is modelling this gift after its Dear Girlfriends programme in Hong Kong

· Gift to SingHealth aims to broaden access to the range of treatment options at NCCS such as proton therapy and immunotherapy for financially vulnerable women with cancer

Singapore, 1 February 2024 – The H.S. Chau Foundation has made its inaugural gift of S$1 million to SingHealth, Singapore’s largest public healthcare group. This transformational gift, modelled after the Dear Girlfriends programme in Hong Kong, will support financially vulnerable women of all ages, who need advanced cancer treatments such as proton therapy and immunotherapy.

The signing ceremony between Ms Debbie Chang, Director and Board Member of H.S. Chau Foundation and Professor Lim Soon Thye, Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer (Research, Education & Innovation), SingHealth, and Chief Executive Officer, National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), was held today at NCCS.

Gift impact on women with cancer in Singapore

According to data from Singapore Cancer Registry, more than 84,000 new cancer cases have been reported between 2017 and 2021 and this number is expected to double by 2030, especially with the increase in average life expectancy. Over the same five-year period, close to 43,000 Singaporean women were diagnosed with cancer, with more than one-third of them succumbing to the disease. The top three cancers affecting women here are breast cancer, which makes up almost 30 per cent of all cancers diagnosed in females, colorectal cancer (12.9 per cent) and lung cancer (7.9 per cent).

NCCS, the national specialty centre for cancer that is part of SingHealth cluster, sees about 55 per cent of all cancer cases in Singapore. Each year, female patients of all ages are seen at NCCS, which offers integrated care and access to advanced cancer treatments such as immunotherapy and proton therapy at the Goh Cheng Liang Proton Therapy Centre. While the disease affects a larger proportion of women above the age of 50, younger women are also affected by cancer with some cases being particularly aggressive, requiring a swift and multi-pronged treatment approach using different modalities, which may result in a heavier financial burden.

“Women perform multi-faceted roles in our society, often juggling work with family commitments and childcare needs. Some women with complex cancer conditions grapple with their cancer diagnosis and worry that they may not have the financial means to seek the treatments they need. This sometimes results in patients deciding to forgo recommended treatment in order not to impose a financial burden on their families. We are grateful for this transformational gift from H.S. Chau Foundation which will provide much-needed support for financially vulnerable patients,” said Professor Lim Soon Thye.

Founded in 1996 by Solina Chau, co-founder of Horizons Ventures Hong Kong, the H.S Chau Foundation has, to date, committed over US$200 million to education, healthcare and charitable causes for the advancement of women in society. Following the Dear Girlfriends programme in Hong Kong that has touched the lives of over 300 women, this partnership with SingHealth, led by NCCS, exemplifies the foundation’s ethos of targeted and impactful giving for yield and impact.

“I am honoured to join hands with SingHealth, standing in solidarity with the women who are in the fight of their lives, by giving them the hope and peace of mind that the best treatments in Singapore can offer,” said Ms Debbie Chang.