Dr Yvonne Loh, a leading transplant physician [Haematologist and Medical Director of the Asian Centre for Blood & Bone Marrow Transplantation (ACBBMT) at Gleneagles Hospital] and dedicated board member at the BMDP, gives her take on bone marrow transplants (BMT) in Singapore.
Over the last five to 10 years, bone marrow transplants have increasingly been offered to older patients as reduced intensity regimens are preferred. With transplant doctors at the various transplant centres gaining more experience, the confidence to offer transplants to patients increases. Coupled with a growing and aging population, this contributes to more cases of blood cancers and other conditions that might potentially benefit from BMTs.
It is these burgeoning issues that make the BMDP’s work extremely relevant in today’s context. As a committee member at the BMDP, Dr Loh has first-hand knowledge of what goes on behind the scenes during a donor search and how she can contribute to its swift success. Likewise, on an executive level, participating in decision-making exercises enables her to play a crucial role in enhancing the BMDP’s daily life-saving processes.
Not one to mince her words, Dr Loh feels that the understanding and awareness of BMT is limited, even among medical practitioners in Singapore. “This may lead to late referrals for treatment in patients that might need a BMT and compromise the chance of a cure”, explained Dr Loh. With Singapore being the medical hub of the region, the BMDP shares in the responsibility of upholding this mantle by growing and maintaining the only local register of bone marrow donors as well as raising awareness for the cause.
Outside of work, Dr Loh is ever-passionate to combine her hobbies with meaningful events in the pursuit of making a difference in the lives of others. She is an avid marathoner who raises money for worthy causes such as the BMDP and consistently ranks among the top 10-20% of women participants at most 21/42km races.
“Other than running marathons, I decided to pick up cycling late last year and completed my first bike race – the OCBC Cycle Singapore 2013 to raise awareness and funds for needy transplant patients”, concluded Dr Loh. Now, who wouldn’t want a fighter in their corner – a doctor who pushes the envelope for her patients!