IOC Inspires – Even Cancer Couldn’t Stop This Nurse

Oprah Winfrey once said, “There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honour your calling.” This quote perfectly embodies Ann, who continued caring for others at CLIOC, even after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

At CLIOC, I’m an oncology nurse and also serve as the assistant manager of the chemotherapy unit. I oversee operations, including day-to-day patient care, to ensure our unit operates smoothly and meets its operational objectives. My focus is always on the patients. 

Working with people in IOC encouraged me to develop myself and contribute the best way I can not only for the welfare of the patients but also for the success of our organisation. With the good networking we have with other IOC centres, I am able to keep myself abreast of the fast-paced and continuously evolving field of oncology nursing. Presently, I have been in service with CLIOC for seven years which I consider my second home.

In August 2022, the tables turned and I became a patient in CLIOC. I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer and had to go through chemotherapy and radiation therapy. I had to cope with being a nurse and being a patient. During my chemotherapy sessions, I would take care of patients on the first shift and receive my treatment as a patient during the second shift. When I had to do radiation therapy, I would register in the Tomotherapy reception in the morning and work until it was my turn to receive treatment.

It was a personal choice to keep working in spite of my condition because I believe that cancer should not limit you and prevent you from reaching your goals and priorities. I am grateful because the whole CLIOC team including people from IOC extended their prayers, support and understanding during my journey as a cancer patient. It was never easy, but every day became bearable because I knew I was receiving the best care from my colleagues.

To me, every day is a chance to learn something new and it is crucial to spend quality time with the people you value most. I am an outgoing person who enjoys exploring new places and taking family trips. I also dedicate time to finding ways on how I can organise my house and keep it more orderly. This helps my focus and reduces my stress.

Looking back at my past 15 years of working in the field of oncology, I can confidently say that it is more than just a career. My work has been my passion because there is a certain fulfilment I get whenever I meet a cancer patient and I’m able to touch his or her life and uplift his or her spirit through good nursing care. I believe that I share this kind of passion with CLIOC which intends to be a centre that provides hope and excellence. 

I live by the Latin motto DUM SPIRO SPERO (While I breathe, I hope). My goal is to continue with life even in the face of adversity and trials because there is always room for hope and the possibility of a better future. 


Mary Ann Rose Agustin,
Chemo Nurse Supervisor