Stivarga for Advanced Colorectal Cancer now Available in Singapore
Stivarga®, first oral targeted therapy proven to extend overall survival in patients with advanced colorectal cancer, is now available in Singapore. First given the green light by the US Food and Drug Administration last year, the recent approval of Bayer HealthCare’s Stivarga® (regorafenib) tablets in Singapore by the Health Sciences Authority brings new hope to advanced colorectal cancer patients, who have previously undergone standard therapies. This new oral targeted therapy has been proven to extend survival, provide tumour control and keep the cancer from progressing. The approval of Stivarga® is based on positive results from a landmark Phase III CORRECT (Colorectal cancer treated with regorafenib or placebo after failure of standard therapy) trial, conducted across the globe. The CORRECT study evaluated regorafenib plus best supportive care (BSC) versus placebo plus BSC in 760 patients with metastatic colorectal cancer whose disease had progressed after approved standard therapies. The safety and tolerability of Stivarga® is reinforced by an ongoing local study of regorafenib conducted by the National University Hospital (NUH) of Singapore in 35 Biopsy-amenable Asian colorectal cancer patients. Data collected to-date showed that it has a tolerability profile in local patients similar to that of the Caucasian cohort in the phase III CORRECT study conducted globally.
Survey Reveals Worrying Findings on Colorectal Cancer Screening Barriers
A large-scale national survey which looked at colorectal cancer (CRC) screening behaviour in Singapore has revealed worrying screening rates and important findings that impact the take-up rate. This is a significant study that describes gender-specific perceptions and barriers in an Asian population with a high CRC incidence. The survey which involved 2,000 individuals from a nationwide sample representative of the Singapore population, who were eligible for CRC screening, was conducted from 2007 to 2008. Only 35.4% (39.2% in men and 32.5% in women) believed that they were at risk of contracting colon cancer and only 26.7% of them were up to date with their screening. The low-level of self-perceived susceptibility is worrisome because people may have the knowledge and means to prevent the disease, but yet are not prompted to take affirmative action by going for screening because of the mistaken belief that they would not be afflicted with the disease. The survey also found that among women, having a family member with CRC increased their likelihood of going for screening. However, no such prompted behaviour was seen among men surveyed. The study also found that Malay females were half as likely to have gone for CRC screening as their non-Malay counterparts. This ethnic difference in screening behaviour was not seen in men, and is likely to be due to socio-cultural factors.
“The findings are important because they affirm that instead of a one-size-fits-all strategy, we may have to try a more personalised or gender-specific approach to promote colon cancer screening,” says Dr Reuben Wong, Assistant professor and Consultant from the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the National University Hospital (NUH) and Principal Investigator of the study. The survey was conducted by doctors and researchers from the NUH, the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and the NUS Yoo Loo Lin School of Medicine.
Action Plan for Epilepsy
To empower caregivers to provide prompt first aid for children in the event of a seizure, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) has rolled out an Epilepsy Action Plan – an illustrated first aid instructional guide that can be easily understood and followed by caregivers of children with epilepsy. Developed by a team from KKH’s Neurology Service and Pharmacy Department, the Epilepsy Action Plan is especially designed to allow caregivers easy access to picture guides for the appropriate positioning of the child and administration of medication, while following colour-coded instructions. Traffic light colours have been used to represent three levels of severity of the child’s seizures, and the corresponding instructions for caregivers – green for short seizures, yellow for prolonged or cluster of seizures, and red for more severe seizures requiring immediate medical attention and intervention. First implemented within the Neurology Service in May 2013, the Epilepsy Action Plan was slated to roll out across all KKH’s paediatric disciplines in September 2013. It has been translated into Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.