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Dr. Dai – Sudpreeda and the best cancer drug called “Understanding”

Doctors who are not oncologists may only see an overall view of what drug regimen matches a particular cancer type. However, drugs effective for one patient may not be necessary for others.

Dr. Dai – Sudpreeda and the best cancer drug
called “Understanding”

“Doctors who are not oncologists may only see an overall view of what drug regimen matches a particular cancer type. However, drugs effective for one patient may not be necessary for others.”

What stage is my cancer? Is there a chance of a cure? These are usually the very first questions patients ask after knowing they harbor a “malignant tumor,” which will affect their lives in the future. “Curable or not curable?” If you were the doctor, how would you respond?

Dr. Sudpreeda Chainitikun, or “Dr. Dai,” told us that answering the question is a double-edged sword; it can impact patient feelings and the decision to undergo treatment. Many believe it is a decision made solely by a patient. However, it should be a joint patient-doctor decision. With over ten years of clinical experience in cancer consultation, Dr. Sudpreeda tries to provide as much information as his patients desire. He encourages them to keep battling cancer and not let the chance of living a long-life slip away.

“I try to explain to patients that cancer is just another chronic disease like diabetes or hypertension that will always be with you. It does not disappear once you have it. But if I told them that cancer is not curable, they would be discouraged and may decide against treatment.”

  • Nearly chose to don a safety helmet instead of a white coat.

Before becoming an oncologist at MedPark Hospital Light of Day Oncology Center, Dr. Dai recalled he had to take extra tutorial classes on weekends during his high school years. Although he was lazy then, his national entrance exam score was unexpectedly good.

 He wanted to submit his entrance exam score to a faculty of engineering, but if he chose the faculty of medicine instead, “a brand-new car” would be his as a present. This offer entices him to apply for the admission quota exam for the Faculty of Medicine at Srinakharinwirot University as a hedge. If he did not pass the test, there was still plan B, admission to a faculty of engineering.

On the admission quota exam day, Dr. Dai continued to lean toward plan B. His friends had to fetch him to go to the exam room. Passing the exam, he kept it secret from his family members until his teacher informed them via telephone on enrollment day. The decision was nearly a hair too late.

  • Treatment must not interfere with a patient’s quality of life

During his medical school days, Dr. Dai asked himself whether he could really be a doctor and what specialty would be the least stressful. It was not until his work stint at a rural hospital for a loan repayment program, did he witness many cancer patients refusing treatment due to the inconvenience of traveling; they had to spend 2 hours going to a hospital in the city. With the lack of specialists and their unwillingness to travel, Dr. Dai finally had an answer to his pondering. He was determined to study oncology and apply his knowledge to treat cancer patients in remote areas.

“Patients in each country have differing approaches. During my training at MD Anderson Cancer Center, I was surprised that 80% of people were willing to relocate to be near the hospital just for their cancer treatment. They want the best care possible. Unlike Thais, who are more family oriented. They prefer to stay with their parents, siblings, and children.”

Having the experience studying abroad at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, a world-famous cancer treatment and research center in the USA, Dr. Sudpreeda found that every aspect of the cancer treatment process in the US is standardized. However, returning to Thailand, he had to adapt to the Thai culture. Not only does he hope that the tumors will shrink, but he also wants patients to have a good life quality during the treatment.

“It is not necessary to always follow a rigid rule, for example, five days of hospital admission followed by an appointment in the next two weeks or something like that. Patients may be allowed to stay home with families without hospitalization. I want patients to have a better quality of life too.”

  • An intimidating nemesis, “faith.”

A promising technology for the specific diagnosis and treatment of cancer, Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) is a tool that enables medical professionals to detect and locate mutations in a tumor. It can also identify the specifics of the gene mutations, which may inform about the cancer initiation, development, and sensitivity to treatment, enabling doctors to prescribe individualized treatment.

Cancer treatment is endless. There is a thing called research-based treatment, which cannot be a willy-nilly formulation concoction process. Each medication has a myriad of side effects. We cannot simply empirically try out every medication to see which one has the best response and then use it. Doctors who are not oncologists may not fathom this fact. They may only see an overall view of what drug matches a particular cancer type. However, drugs effective for one patient may not be necessary for others.”

As technologies continue to advance, one challenging issue remains for medical oncologists in any era: faith in cancer treatments not originating from medical science. This kind of information spread rapidly, particularly in the social media era, resulting in patients’ refusal of proven medical treatment and a loss of opportunity to receive standardized and effective treatments. Doctors need to adapt to the situation as well. It should not be strictly prohibited if it is what the patient wants and is not harmful. However, the doctors will try to give beneficial advice as much as possible.

“What I would like to tell every patient is firstly — “Don’t lose hope.” Having cancer is not an instant death sentence. Today’s medical technology has advanced greatly, resulting in a longer lifespan. Secondly, don’t try to identify the cause of cancer. Voluminous research dedicated to understanding the causes of cancer over the last 100 years still cannot clearly pinpoint the cause. Lastly, don’t be alone and keep it to yourself; share it with your close one to improve the state of mind.”

Currently, Dr. Sudpreeda is a cancer specialist in the diagnosis and treatment planning of cancers with chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and palliative care. Beginning with the first MedPark Hospital cancer patient, now three years later, the doctor still provides continuing follow-up care to the patient. He has become the favorite among cancer patients, not only because of his experience or expertise in treating cancer but because Dr. Dai often gives out his best medication called ‘understanding’ and his positive attitude toward patients.

Dr Sudpreeda Chainitikun
A doctor specializing in oncology
Doctor profile