Professor Christopher Cheng, CEO, SKH, also a senior consultant urologist, has devoted his life to preventing and curing cancers, particularly prostate cancer. He has done numerous prostate cancer operations since 1991 and pioneered robots in surgery in Asia, which has helped to speed up recovery. In November 2017, he was found to have the very same condition he was an expert in – prostate cancer. Now in remission, he has written an account of his experience as professor-turned-patient in a book, I Thought I Knew. The inspiration for his book came on the third day after his surgery, when he was sketching by the window in the hospital while recovering from the surgery when his son visited him and suggested he document his journey from a patient's point of view. The painting now appears on the cover of the book. Compassion and empathy are two themes which resound in almost every chapter in his book. He shared that patients need empathy and understanding, and it is about connecting at the heart level and not on a superficial level. While technical excellence is a given in today's context - it is expected that one will do the right medical test, interpret it correctly and the surgery will be done correctly, but what is missing is the almost mystical word - empathy.
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