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Radiating Excellence

Left to Right: Francis Ngoi, Senior Manager, Division of Radiation Oncology; Sin Sze Yarn, Advanced Practitioner Radiation Therapist, Division of Radiation Oncology.

Francis Ngoi and Sin Sze Yarn are familiar faces at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). The pair from the Division of Radiation Oncology have combined experience of almost four decades in providing cancer care.

Working in a multi-disciplinary team consisting of radiation oncologists, radiation therapists, nurses, dosimetrists, medical physicists and other support staff, Francis oversees and ensures clinical operations run smoothly, while Sze Yarn delivers safe and accurate radiation treatment to patients.

Besides their profession and commitment to patient safety, Francis and Sze Yarn share something else in common – they are both recipients of this year’s National Day Awards. The National Day Awards was first established in 1962 to recognise various forms of merit and service to Singapore.

Following a stringent selection, the two allied health professionals made the cut for their excellent contributions in the field of radiation oncology.

For his contribution to radiation safety and service quality, Francis was conferred the Commendation Award. The medal of excellence marks his 29 th year of service. The 53-year-old senior manager has progressed from mentoring juniors to overseeing operations for the entire NCCS’ Division of Radiation Oncology.

“I feel very honoured to receive this prestigious award. I could not have achieved this without clinging onto my faith and the unwavering support and love from my family. I am also grateful for the guidance from my mentor and supervisor, Pheck Geok, supportive peers and last but not least, the active engagement with our patients..”

Sharing with us about his job, Francis elaborated that, “there are safety processes that apply to all stages of radiotherapy. The first thing I do in the morning is check if all the quality assurance checks have been performed for all treatment machines. We need to make sure that all the physics requirements are fulfilled and the machines are ready for treatment delivery. I also conduct competency assessments to ensure that our staff are competent and conversant with the equipment and machine operation, so that we always deliver safe treatment and good quality, accurate images that are required for the doctors’ review.”

Although he’s been at it for almost 30 years, Francis shows no signs of slowing down. “Besides active roles in quality and safety management, I am involved in projects to assist the team smoothly transition when we make the move to the new NCCS building.”

Sze Yarn, attributed this honour of receiving the Efficiency Award to the exceptional guidance her mentors and supervisors gave her. The first Head and Neck Advanced Practitioner Radiation Therapist in Singapore, shared that she had the opportunity to be trained by radiation oncologists, which helped her acquire in-depth knowledge of clinical assessment and imaging in head and neck radiotherapy.

“It is because of their guidance that I could learn and go on to run toxicity assessment clinics, streamline care pathways and develop treatment protocols for the head and neck region,” shared Sze Yarn, who also conducts training for her fellow radiation therapists.

“I believe that by educating and training other radiation therapists, we can raise our profession to a higher level and be able to deliver outstanding care and assist more patients undergoing radiation therapy. I hope with the new NCCS building, we will be able to transform care for our patients with cutting-edge technology.”

Sze Yarn shared that the strength her patients possess motivates her at work.

“To be able to walk alongside the patients during their radiotherapy journey is what encourages me to do this job wholeheartedly. Through the years, what also makes the job fulfilling is our close-knit and devoted team. It is inspiring to work with this group of compassionate staff and every experience with them is memorable.”

Congratulations Francis and Sze Yarn, for being recognised for your hard work and commitment!