Diagnosed

Preparing for your Hospital Visit

The following sections guide you on ways to cope with negative feelings, suggested items to bring for your hospital visits, and a list of vendors for wigs, breast prostheses, stoma bags as well as hospital beds.
Will anything help?
Although you may feel low and as though you can't do anything, there are things that you can try and do to help yourself feel better. You may think that nothing is going to help but you won’t know until you give it a go. Try not to feel guilty about feeling like this. This will only increase your levels of anxiety and depression.
 
At first, you may find it very difficult to want to try any of these suggestions. But, along with other treatment from your doctor or specialist nurse, they are worth a try when you feel up to it.
 
Please bear in mind that if you are suffering from severe depression or anxiety you will need professional help.
 
Taking it slowly
Set small goals for yourself and build them up slowly. Try to take each day as it comes and not think ahead too much. If your anxiety, fear or depression is very severe, you may need to get some medical help. Talk to your GP, who can advise you.
 
Some people find it helps to set themselves small goals each day, even if you just say to yourself, ‘I will get up today and walk around the block once’. Or, ‘I will ring a friend for a short chat today’. This is a start, and a big achievement for someone who is very depressed or anxious.
 
So give yourself a pat on the back for every task you manage to do each day. You shouldn’t expect to feel better overnight. Feeling better takes time and happens gradually.
 
Relaxation techniques
Some people find that complementary therapies help them to relax and cope with episodes of anxiety, fear and depression. Relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, visualisation and hypnotherapy are just a few that may help. Having a massage or reflexology may also help you feel better.
 
Some cancer units (and cancer support groups) now have a massage therapist. If you think this may help, ask about having weekly massages for a while. If you try any type of complementary therapy it’s vital that the person who treats you is properly trained and qualified.
 
Exercise
Exercise is another great way to help control the intensity of some of your feelings. Exercise increases the body’s level of chemicals called endorphins. These play a part in helping us feel good.
 
Don't push yourself too much if your cancer is making you feel ill. Listen to your body, but do try and do something physical, even if it’s a more gentle form of exercise such as yoga. Even if you just go out for a short walk each day, it can help.
 
Avoiding alcohol and drugs
If you feel very depressed or anxious it can be tempting to try and dull your emotions by drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs. This may help for a short time but will definitely make you feel worse once the effects wear off.
 
Having a glass of wine or a beer now and then is not likely to do you any harm. But alcohol abuse and some recreational drugs will make depression worse. If you use them for long periods of time then you may become dependent on them, and this can be very difficult to deal with.
 
Talking to other people
Find ways to get rid of your tension. Talking to other people, listening to some loud music, yelling at the top of your voice, or having a good cry may help you feel better. Don't be afraid to talk to the people close to you. Not everyone finds it easy to talk about their feelings but choose someone you trust a lot and let them be a listening ear.
 
It is amazing how talking about your worries can make you feel better. It may be hard to explain how you truly feel, especially to someone who has never felt very depressed or anxious. But many people will be sympathetic.
 
But some people may find it hard to understand why you cannot make yourself feel better or ‘pull yourself together’. If someone has said this to you, try not to feel hurt and frustrated by it.
 
True friends will stick by you and they will be there once you feel better again, even if they do not fully understand why you feel the way you do. Many people don’t realise that depression can be linked to a chemical imbalance. But once they know they may be able to understand your situation better.
 
Another way of getting emotional support is to join a cancer support group. Not everyone feels comfortable doing this but many people find that talking to other people in similar situations helps a lot.
 
If you would like to talk to someone outside your own friends and family, look at our list of counselling organisations. To find out more about counselling look at our counselling section. 
 
Reading about your feelings
Reading doesn’t help everyone but some people find it very useful to read about the depression and what can be done to help. For example, reading this information may help you understand some of your moods and feelings. Hopefully you will realise that you are not alone. Help is available and you can eventually feel better.
 
There are some very good books and leaflets about managing and coping with depression and anxiety, especially for people with cancer. But there are also some very unhelpful ones. It is important that you read reliable, up to date information. It can sometimes be difficult to know how to find this.
 
Keeping a journal or drawing
Not everyone likes to write down how they are feeling. But some people find it helps them to understand their feelings better. It can be a great release to get your thoughts onto paper instead of keeping them all inside. Writing something each day, even if it's just a few words, can be really helpful. If you think that feeling better is taking too long, reading back over your journal may help you see that you are making progress. You may see from what you wrote a month ago, that you are not feeling as bad now.
 
Drawing and art therapy can be helpful. Drawing and painting can be a way of expressing emotions and showing how you feel. NCSM’s Resource & Wellness Centre (RWC) has a Chinese ink painting class every Tuesday, 10am-1pm. Please call the RWC at 03-2698 7300 for more information.
 
Eating well
This isn’t always easy if your cancer or treatment is making you sick or very tired. But if you can, eating a healthy, well balanced diet will keep up your energy levels and may make it easier to cope with feeling depressed or anxious.
 
Not eating regularly makes most of us feel terrible. We can become irritable, anxious, lack enthusiasm and find it difficult to concentrate. If you already feel like this, not eating properly will only make things worse. You can also visit NCSM’s in-house dietitian for advice.
 
Coping with sleep problems
We have all had sleepless nights and know they can make you feel tired, cranky and a bit dazed. If feeling sad or depressed is making you have trouble sleeping at night, it may help to change a few things about when and where you sleep.
 
If you have severe depression, sometimes getting a lot of sleep may not help much, and can make you feel worse. But to make sure you sleep as well as possible.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day
  • Try to sleep in a quiet, calm room
  • Make the room you sleep in a comfortable place you like to be – an untidy room may be distracting and make you feel anxious
  • Make sure the temperature is right – not too hot or too cold
  • Sleep with the window open if you prefer, as long as there isn't too much noise outside
  • Spend time relaxing before you go to bed – have a bath, read or listen to music
  • Do some light exercise each day to help tire yourself out
  • Don't drink too much alcohol before bed – you may fall asleep to start with but you'll have a disturbed night
  • Avoid caffeine (coffee, tea, chocolate and cola drinks) after early afternoon
  • If you are napping a lot during the day, try to cut down – you may find you then sleep longer and deeper at night
  • Have a light snack before you go to bed to stop hunger waking you up
  • Try and relax before sleep – you could imagine somewhere beautiful you'd like to be
  • Listen to a relaxation tape
When you really can't sleep, get up and watch TV, read, or listen to music until you feel sleepy. Or try simple relaxing things like taking a warm bath and a warm milky drink. Then go back to bed and try again. Do let your doctor or specialist nurse know if you often have trouble sleeping.
 
Trying to stay positive
One of the things that people with cancer are often encouraged to do is to be positive. But it is not always that easy. Living with cancer and its treatment can be frightening. There will be times when you may feel low and worry about your future.
 
It may seem impossible to be positive if you are feeling very depressed or anxious. It may help to remember that being positive:
  • Doesn’t mean being cheerful and optimistic.
  • Means recognising some of the fearful possibilities that can arise from having cancer.
Being positive and thinking positively can include feeling upset and frightened. Such feelings can be a sign of strength and may reflect your courage in facing up to an uncertain future. But sometimes it can help to try to change negative thoughts into something more positive when they come into your head. This takes practice.
 
A good rule of thumb is to stick to what you know is true and don’t let your imagination run away with you. For example, if you keep thinking that your life will never be any good again because of your cancer, consider that this is not true. Most people with cancer do go through some negative feelings during their treatment, but in time things do usually get better.
 
This doesn’t mean that you always have to stop yourself feeling down. It is important to allow yourself to experience your feelings. So if you need to cry, it is fine to do that. Or if you feel very angry, find a safe way to express this. For example, throwing cushions around a room, listening to very loud music, or doing some exercise. These suggestions may sound very unoriginal but they do sometimes help.
 
Make sure that you have a good support network of positive people around you, such as close friends and family, doctors and nurses, or a counsellor. These people can really help lift your spirits and be there when you need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to how you are feeling. You may be surprised at how much talking to others can help.
 
You may find it helpful to read some of the tips and stories for coping emotionally. These have been sent into us by people who have cancer or by their friends and relatives.
 
Controlling other symptoms you may have
If your cancer or its treatment is causing symptoms such as –
  • Pain
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Breathing problems
  • Diet problems
  • Mouth problems
  • Ulcerating wounds
  • High calcium levels
You may feel more sad or depressed than usual. It is very important to let your doctor know about these and any other symptoms you may have. There are many treatments that could help. The better you feel physically, the more help it will be in coping with your feelings or with depression.

Learning to live with your cancer
After cancer treatment, it can take a long time to get used to the way you feel about it. Not only are you having to get used to having cancer but you are also coping with the side effects of the treatment. Some of these may be life changing, for example getting used to changes in the way your body looks.
 
While the treatment for cancer can make you feel ill, some people do manage to lead an almost normal life during their treatment. Of course you may need to take
  • Time off for your treatment
  • Time afterwards to recover
It is difficult to predict in advance how much recovery time you will need. People can feel very tired for some time after treatment. If you look as though you are well, people around you may forget that you have been through a very demanding experience. They may expect you to do things which you do not feel up to. So it is important that you just do as much as you feel like doing and try to get plenty of rest.
 
If you haven't been able to manage on your own, don't feel that you are a failure. Once other people understand how you are feeling they can be more helpful to you.
 
For many people, it can be very hard to come to terms with the thought that the cancer could come back. Even if your cancer has been cured by your treatment, your doctor may not be able to be sure about that for some years. You may never be told you are cured. Everyone copes with this in a different way. Some people are able to put it behind them more easily than others. If you are finding this very difficult, it may help to have some counselling. Your counsellor can help you to explore your feelings and find a way to cope with them. This can help even if you had your cancer years before.
 
If you would like to talk to someone outside your own friends and family, there are available support groups at NCSM. Please call the Resource & Wellness Centre at 03-2698 7300 for more information.
For surgeries
  • Your list of questions for the surgeon
  • Your health insurance card
  • Sleeping mask and earplugs
  • Sweater and comfortable clothes
  • Socks
  • Shower cap and rubber slippers
  • Prescription and medication
  • Small sized towels and washcloths
  • Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, playing cards or similar book-based activities
  • Wireless electronic devices such as tablets or phones
  • Stationery
  • Music
  • Handcraft projects such as embroidery and needlepoint
  • Healthy snacks such as dried fruit, nuts
  • Your bathrobe and slippers
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste and floss
  • Comb and brush
  • Lip balm
  • Your pillow or blanket if they would make you feel more comfortable

For chemotherapies/radiotherapies
Prepare a Treatment Bag
You can prepare a bag to bring along to treatment sessions. Take items that can give you comfort or entertain you. Below are some suggestions:
  • Comfortable clothes
  • Music 
  • Blanket and pillows
  • Book/magazines
  • Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, playing cards or similar book-based activities
  • Wireless electronic devices such as tablets or phones
  • Deck of cards
  • Lip balm
  • Body lotion
  • Calming teas like peppermint
  • Notepad or journal and stationery
  • Socks
  • Sweaters
  • Healthy snacks such as dried fruit, nuts
  • Stress ball

For Consideration
Prosthesis

What is a breast prosthesis?
A breast prosthesis (plural: prostheses) is a synthetic breast or part of a breast that appears real when worn in a bra or under clothing. The manufacturers usually call them breast forms. Prostheses can be used after the full removal of a breast (mastectomy) or after partial removal (lumpectomy or breast-conserving surgery).
 
Most breast prostheses have the weight, shape and feel of a natural breast, and they can be attached directly onto the skin or inserted into specially made pockets in bras, swimwear and nightdresses.
 
When can I wear a prosthesis?
Although the breast area will be tender after surgery, a soft, light, temporary breast prosthesis called a soft form can be worn right away, usually for up to two months. The soft form can be worn in a post-surgical bra that has a pocket. If the bra is too constricting or rubs against your scar, you can purchase a pocketed crop top or camisole. Because it is light and made from a gentle material, the soft form can be worn during radiotherapy.
 
When you have recovered from treatment, you can be fitted for a permanent prosthesis. You may need to wait up to two months after surgery and for six weeks after radiotherapy to give the skin and other tissue time to heal. If you have chemotherapy between surgery and radiotherapy, it may be some time before you can get your permanent form.
Breast prostheses are sold at:
Amanita
Lot 1.06, 1st Floor The Amp Walk,
218 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2162 8215
Fax: 03-2163 6172
Website: http://amanita.com.my/
Email: info@amanita.com.my
Operation Hours:
Monday – Friday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
Saturday 11.00 am – 5.00 pm
Closed Sundays and Public Holidays

Other locations include Sime Darby, Penang, Kota Bahru and Sandakan. Contact details for these locations available on their website.
 
Medisia Sdn Bhd
74D, Wisma Slah Brothers,
Jalan Pahang,
53000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-40419118/ 03-40429118
Fax: 03-40412118
Email: jebblim@tm.net.my

Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA)
5th Floor,
Bangunan Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah,
16, Jalan Utara,
46200 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7954 0133
Fax: 03-7954 0122
Website: http://www.breastcancer.org.my/
Email: info@breastcancer.org.my
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday from 9am – 6pm


Wigs
Choosing a wig or hairpiece
Wigs are made from real hair or synthetic materials. Both can look natural.
  • Human hair wigs tend to be more expensive and need to be washed and styled like normal hair with hot rollers, curling wands and straighteners. They can be trimmed and coloured darker but not lighter, they are heavier and will last longer.
  • Synthetic wigs are less expensive, lighter, dry quickly and need less care. They can’t be restyled or recoloured but they can be trimmed. Synthetic wigs will only last about nine months but this may be all you need.
Before selecting a wig
Take a friend or family member along with you for support and to help you choose your wig.
  • Check if your treatment centre or local Cancer Council has a wig loan service or donated wigs at a reduced price. This can be an economical alternative to buying a new wig.
  • Ask your hairdresser or speak to the consultant at a wig salon about a style of wig that would suit you. There may be a cost involved for a wig consultation. Remember to ask about the cost when making an appointment or a decision.
  • Visit specialty wig suppliers who are experienced in fitting wigs for people receiving chemotherapy.
  • If you want to match your wig to your own colour and style, start looking for it before hair loss begins or take a photo from before losing your hair. Some people like to try something different and choose a different style and colour.
  • Look for a wig that adjusts to any head size to allow for variations as you lose your hair.
Wigs for purchase
Scarlett’s
Aeon Sunway Pyramid
LG 1.123, Sunway Pyramid,
Jalan PJS 11/15, Bandar Sunway,
46150 Petaling Jaya
(A boutique in Aeon department store, Sunway Pyramid)
Amanita
Lot 1.06, 1st Floor The Amp Walk,
218 Jalan Ampang
50450 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2162 8215
Fax: 03-2163 6172
Website: http://amanita.com.my/
Email: info@amanita.com.my
Operation Hours:
Monday – Friday 10.00 am – 6.00 pm
Saturday 11.00 am – 5.00 pm
Closed Sundays and Public Holidays

Other locations include Sime Darby, Penang, Kota Bahru and Sandakan. Contact details for these locations available on their website.

NCSM also lends wigs to cancer patients. Please call the Resource & Wellness Centre at 03-2698 7300 for more information.
Having a stoma
A stoma is a surgically created opening in the abdomen through which part of the bowel is attached. Some people need a stoma after bowel surgery, which may be temporary or permanent, so that waste can be removed from the body.
 
A temporary stoma is only needed until the newly joined bowel has healed. The surgeon will determine the safest time to close your stoma. Less than 10% of people with bowel cancer need a permanent stoma.
 
The two types of stoma are:
  1. colostomy: the most common type of stoma, created from an opening in the large bowel
  2. ileostomy: a stoma created from an opening in the small bowel.
A stoma is soft, moist and red or pink in colour as it's formed from the same type of tissue as the inside of the mouth. It may be level with your skin or slightly raised. The stoma itself doesn't have any feeling, but the skin around it does.
 
Stomas vary in size and can change shape in the first six months following surgery. A stomal therapy nurse can give you advice about any changes to your stoma or the skin surrounding it.
 
How the stoma works
When the bowel moves, wind and waste material (faeces) come out through the stoma. A small, disposable, flat plastic bag is worn on the outside of the body to collect this waste. This is called a stoma bag or an appliance.
 
Stoma bags have adhesive on the back, so they should stick firmly to the skin and provide a leak-proof, odour-proof system. They're usually not visible under clothing.
 
Attaching the bag: Your stomal therapy nurse will help you choose an appliance suitable to your lifestyle. For example, in humid weather or during vigorous physical activity, you may need to use extra stoma paste or powder to secure the bag.
Emptying the bag: When the bag is about one-third full, you'll empty the contents down the toilet. Some bags are drainable, while others need to be changed each time there is a bowel movement. Discard stoma bags in the rubbish bin instead of the toilet.
 
Some people don't like to wear bags. If you have a colostomy in your descending colon, you may be able to learn how to give yourself a type of enema (colostomy irrigation) to remove the waste once a day. Talk to your doctor and stomal therapy nurse about this option. 
 
Colostomy
The most common type of stoma is a colostomy, which is a stoma from an opening in the colon. 

 
Coping with a stoma
Having a stoma, even temporarily, is a big change in a person's life and takes some adjustment. However, thousands of Australians have a stoma and most lead a relatively normal life. The stoma may sometimes impact on your travel plans, social life and sexual relationships, but these issues can be managed, especially with some forward planning. Unless your job or hobbies involve very strenuous labour, the stoma should not stop you from participating in your usual activities.
 
You may worry about how you'll look and how other people will react to your appearance. Although the stoma bag may seem very obvious to you, most people won't notice anything is different unless you tell them. The stoma's location may make some clothes less comfortable (e.g. tight waistbands or belts) but you'll generally be able to continue wearing your normal clothes.
 
You can discuss changes to aspects of your everyday life with a stomal therapy nurse. Your family may also need information and support, and can be included in discussions with the stomal therapy nurse if you wish.
 
Stoma Care Centres
Sunway Medical Centre
5 Jalan Lagoon Selatan, Bandar Sunway,
46150 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Tel: 03- 7491 9191
Website: http://www.sunwaymedical.com/
Email: smc@sunway.com.my
There are different types of hospital beds - you should discuss with your doctor or your healthcare team on which type would suit your needs. If you'd like some general information on the beds, you can visit the two websites listed below. Beds available for sales or rental
 
Lifelink Homecare
No. 2, Jalan Tiram,
Taman Mutiara Barat
56000 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-9543 2648
Website: www.lifelinkhomecare.com
Email: lifelinkhomecare@gmail.com
Opening Hours:
Monday – Friday 9.00am- 5.00 pm
Saturday 9.00 am – 1.00 pm (closed on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month)
Ecolife Medicare
Ecolife Medicare Sdn Bhd -reg no 111767-H (Puchong)
10 Jalan Puteri 2/4, Bandar Puteri,
47100 Puchong, Selangor

Ecolife Medicare Sdn Bhd-reg no 111767-H (KL)
G-09 VUE Residences Condo,
No 102 Jalan Pahang, 53300 Kuala Lumpur
Customer Care Line: 03 8063 9003 / 012 322 7236
Website: http://www.ecolife.com.my/
Email : boo@ecolife.com.my / sylvia@ecolife.com.my

LKL Advance Metaltech Sdn Bhd 
LKL Advance Metaltech Sdn Bhd
No 3, Jalan BS 7/18
Kawasan Perindustrian Bukit Serdang,
Seksyen 7, 43300 Seri Kembangan,
Selangor Datul Ehsan, Malaysia
Tel: 03 8948 2990
Mobile: 016 3328 242/ 016 2328 195
Fax: 03 8948 7904/ 03 8943 8487
Website: http://www.lklbeds.com/contact-us.html
Email: info@lklbeds.com

Puteri Malaysia Ambulance (for sale or rental)
Puteri Malaysia Ambulance 2000 ( East Asia ) Sdn Bhd
54, Jalan SS 1/17,Kampung Tunku,
47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03 7877 8899
Fax : 03 7875 3404
H/P (Raj) : 012 398 0999 / 012 398 3999
H/P(Shanthini) : 012 395 1099
Website: www.puterimalaysiaambulance.com
Email: pmaraj16@hotmail.com shanthinikrishnan79@yahoo.com

Sunlife medic sdn. bhd  
8-1, Jalan Serkut, Taman Pertama,
Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur
Contact Person: Mr. Donald Ong (General Manager)
Contact number: 03 9282 5910/ 012-298 6138
Fax: 03 9285 5907
Website: https://www.facebook.com/sunlifemedic/ 
Email: doning88@yahoo.com

Lifeline Innovators Sdn. Bhd. 
No. 16, Jalan PJS 5/26,
Taman Desa Ria,
46150 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7782 2703/04/05/06
Fax: 03-7781 7070
Website: http://www.lifeline.com.my/
Hospis Malaysia
Hospis Malaysia lends medical equipment and patient-aids, such as oxygen cylinders and concentrators, beds, syringe drivers, commodes, walking aids and others to patients without charge. They also provide assistance to run errands and transportation, as well as bereavement support service to relatives of patients. Hospis Malaysia can be contact at
No.2 Jalan 4/96, off Jalan Sekuci,
Taman Sri Bahtera,
56100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Tel : 03 9133 3936
Fax : 03 9133 3941
Website: www.hospismalaysia.org
Email : info@hospismalaysia.org
Puteri Malaysia Ambulance
Puteri Malaysia Ambulance is a “one-stop centre for medical equipment sale and rental services”.
Tel : 03 7877 8899
Fax : 03 7875 3404
H/P(Raj) : 012 398 0999 / 012 398 3999
H/P(Shanthini) : 012 395 1099
Website: www.puterimalaysiaambulance.com
Email: pmaraj16@hotmail.com / shanthinikrishnan79@yahoo.com
Mailing Address: 
Puteri Malaysia Ambulance 2000 ( East Asia ) Sdn Bhd
54, Jalan SS 1/17,Kampung Tunku,47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Sunlife Medic Sdn. Bhd
Contact Person: Mr. Donald Ong (General Manager)
Contact number: 0392825910/ 012-298 6138
Fax: 0392855907
Address: 8-2, Jalan Serkut, Taman Pertama, Cheras, 56100 Kuala Lumpur
Website: http://sunlifemedic.itrademarket.com/
Email: doning88@yahoo.com

Pinang Medical Supplies Sdn Bhd K.L./P.J
Block B, No. 16 Jalan TP 6 Taman Perindustrian Sime UEP
47600 Subang Jaya, Malaysia
Tel: 03 8081 7693/ 8081 8693/ 8011 9795
Fax: 03 8021 6770
Website: http://www.pinangmedical.com.my/contact.php

Kasih Hospice 
Breathing equipment in limited supply, usually reserved for the hospice patients. Special arrangements can be made for Stage 4 cancer patients.
For more information please contact them at:
No 7, Jalan 14/29, Section 14
46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03- 7960 7424
Fax: 03-7956 6442
Website: www.kasihfoundation.org/index.php/hospice
Email: admin@kasih-hospice.org
Reviewed By:
Staff from Westmead Breast Cancer Institute - Dr Thomas Lam, Plastic Surgeon; Dr Meagan Brennan, Breast Physician; Elisabeth Black, Jenny Cooper, Kim Kerin-Ayres and Mary Sweeney, Breast Care Nurses. Also Bronwyn Chalmers, Cancer Information Consultant, Helpline, Cancer Council NSW; Tracy Cosgrove, Breast Care Nurse, Royal North Shore Hospital; Marie Harland and Pauline Campbell, Breast Prostheses Fitters, Leila O'Toole Corsetry Salon; Lesley Jakes, Viviane Rubinstein and Kathryn Rutkowski, Consumers; and the Oncoplastic Subgroup of the Breast Surgeons Society of Australia and New Zealand (BreastSurgANZ).