Dr. Beena Devi CR (as of 17 Nov, 2017)

is retired Senior Consultant Clinical Oncologist in the Department of Radiotherapy, Oncology and Palliative Care, Sarawak General Hospital. She obtained her MD Degree in Clinical Oncology in 1987 and her Masters degree in Palliative Care in 2000.

 

Since her retirement from full-time government service, Dr Beena has been running the daily operation of Hospice at the new office from morning to noon, Monday to Friday.

 

With her interest in cancer down staging and palliative care work, she is instrumental in initiating two main Sarawak State wide programs i.e. the Early Cancer Surveillance Program and the Hospice Home Care Program; the two joint projects of the Sarawak State Health Department and the Sarawak Hospice Society. Data analysis revealed that down staging of late stage presentation for breast and cervical cancer was possible with joint effort of State Health Department and community awareness. The results of these two programs were published in Annals of Oncology and have been included in the WHO programs as models of cancer care. In fact, the model of Home Based Palliative Care was recognised by WHO in August, 2016.

 

In addition to routine clinical work, her keen interest and perseverance in research led to the landmark finding of Bidayuhs having the highest incidence of nasopharyngeal cancer in the world. This has resulted in an ongoing collaborative research on Genetic Epidemiology of NPC with IARC, France. In 2009, she won a competitive two-year international research grant to carry out research on breast cancer in Sarawak. The on-going research has already yielded interesting data to facilitate better understanding of breast cancer that would translate to better breast cancer management in Sarawak.

 

Her hard work on maintaining quality cancer treatment and palliative care standards led to the international recognition, being awarded the ESMO accreditation for the department in 2009 as one of the 73 ESMO Designated Center of Integrated Oncology and Palliative care globally and the only center in South East Asia. This accreditation was further extended to 2010 and 2013.

 

In 2011, she organised the First Asian Conference on the Elderly in Kuching held for the first time in Asia. The main purpose was to create awareness in the medical as well as in the public on cancer care for the elderly.

 

In 2011, she was awarded the Paul Calabresi award by the International Society of Geriatric Oncology for her contribution to developing cancer treatment in Sarawak to be recognised internationally.

 

Since January 2015 she was invited to be Faculty Member of ESMO for the Elderly for a two year term being the first Malaysian Oncologist to be awarded this recognition.

 

To date, her research work has been published in peer reviewed international journals, like Annals of Oncology, CEBP, Surgical Oncology etc. She is also reviewer of International Journal of Cancer, Cancer Epidemiology, Biology and Prevention and Surgical Oncology.


Currently she is on various advisory boards for research and development in cancer management and in addition is the recipient of the prestigious Paul Calabresi Award. She is the architect behind the success of the First Asian Congress on Cancer in the Older Patients, 21 & 22 January, 2011 in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. She is also the guest editor for AMJ (Australasian Medical Journal).

 

She is a member in many Professional Societies including Academy of Medicine Of Malaysia, Malaysian Medical Association, Malaysian Oncology Society, Asia Pacific Network in Singapore and Collaborative Research Team In Palliative Care in Perth Australia, ICEDOC (Experts in Cancer Without Borders), National Representative for SIOG and INCTR (International Network for cancer Treatment and Research).

 

Due to her interest in exploring various ways to improve cancer care, during one of her visit to Moffitt Cancer and Research Center in Tampa, USA, she realised the importance of incorporating Arts in Medicine Program aimed at improving the quality of life for patients, families and staff.

 

In addition to her passion for her work, she loves to cycle, read, scuba dive, practice yoga and is involved in a program to help the mentally challenged in India.

 

In her free time, she is writing her life experience in working with cancer patients and their families for more than 20 years in Sarawak in a compact easy to read stories to be published in the future for the benefit of patients and caregivers.