Monthly Archives: November 2014

I am a Zebra!

When Patsy Kam initially discovered a lump on her neck, the doctors first told her it was cancer, and then it was misdiagnosed as merely an enlarged lymph node. It was only in 2002, seven years later, that she finally learnt the lumps growing inside of her had a name – paragangliomas.

Like any other full-time working mother, Patsy had her hands full, juggling a career as a journalist and bringing up her three sons. Overnight, her world changed, as her life thereafter revolved around doctor visits and surgeries, including an episode on the operating table that has since placed her in the medical annals of vascular surgery in Malaysia.

In June this year, she published her book entitled “I am a Zebra! Making Sense of a Rare Disorder”, describing her 10-year journey with paras. In it, Patsy gives an honest account of her experiences with the disease as well as her musings while muddling her way through motherhood. Written in a casual tone, the book combines some of her articles which appeared in The Star newspaper along with easy-to-understand medical information. It also gives mention to the Pheo Paratroopers and how she attained “zebra status”!

Patsy undergoes screening every two years, and it was a recent development indicating a positive change in her condition that inspired her to share her story. Dedicated to her sons whom she fondly dubs her ‘Lamlets’, it is her fervent hope that they would never have to go through what she had to endure.

Meant for both medical and non-medical readers alike, she hopes that her book will create more awareness about pheos and paras, and spur research towards finding a cure.

NET Cancer Day


November 10, 2014 — NET Cancer Awareness Day is here!

NET, short for Neuroendocrine Tumors, is the umbrella term for a group of cancers which develop from cells of the endocrine system. Pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma are two types of NET cancer. This year’s awareness campaign is called, “Time to Diagnosis” which highlights how long it takes for patients to receive an accurate diagnosis of a NET cancer. The long diagnostic period is one of the most common problems with pheo/para as well as other types of neuroendocrine cancers.

The International Neuroendocrine Cancer Alliance (INCA) is hoping this NET Cancer day will be bigger and better than ever, and they are using social media and technology to bring the global NET community together to spread awareness. Join us in spreading the awareness. Some things you can do to get involved are to send a selfie here for a video montage, or place the NET Cancer Awareness Day logos on your social media sites. The more people talking about NET Cancer, the more hope we have for a better future!

Information on NET Cancer Day can be found on the INCA sponsored NET Cancer Day website.