The Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia urged the public to go for screening tests and advised them to recognise signs and early symptoms of cancer to prevent late detection to obtain higher chances of recovery.
According to the Director-General of Health, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, early tracing with fast and effective treatment gives cancer patients a better healing opportunity.
“The overall percentage of cancer cases that were detected late (Stage 3 and 4) increased from 58.7 between 2001 to 2011 to 63.7 from 2012 to 2016.
“This is a worrying situation and it needs proper attention,” he said in a media statement dated today (February 4) in conjunction with World Cancer Day.
World Cancer Day which is marked every February 4, is themed ‘I Am and I Will’ for this year’s celebration that aims to invite members of the public to support and take part in the cause to prevent and control the spread of cancer.
Thus, Dr Noor Hisham stated that MOH is always committed in encouraging the public to practice a healthy lifestyle.
“MOH provides human papillomavirus (HPV) immunisation service for Form 1 female school students to prevent cervical cancer and Hepatitis B immunisation for babies to prevent liver cancer.
“The Ministry also provides free-of-charge screening tests for breast cancer, colorectal (large intestine) cancer, cervical cancer and mouth cancer in the entire country. They’re also available at private medical facilities subject to specific payment rates, while patients who are diagnosed with cancer will need immediate medical treatment,” he elaborated.
Dr Noor Hisham added, MOH cares for the health and well-being of cancer patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is because cancer patients have a weaker immune system compared to others and they’re at risk of getting serious infections.
“That’s why the Ministry takes strict control measures at all health facilities to ensure SOPs are implemented during appointments and treatment sessions for cancer patients, apart from making sure that they receive treatments according to schedule,” he explained.
Dr Noor Hisham mentioned that cancer is one of the most-feared chronic diseases and it gives a highly negative impact towards patients, their families and the country.
The total amount of cancer cases increased by 11 percent between 2012 until 2016 in comparison to 2007 until 2011.
“The three most-occuring types of cancer in Malaysia are breast cancer (19 percent), followed by colorectal cancer (13.5 percent) and lung cancer (9.8 percent).
“Colorectal cancer is commonly diagnosed among men at 16.9 percent, while breast cancer is at a 33.9 percent occurrence among women,” he added.
Dr Noor Hisham further explained, one out of three deaths caused by cancer is related to risky practices, such as being overweight, little consumption of fruits and vegetables, little physical activity, smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages.
“Smoking is the most crucial risk factor towards the occurrence of cancer and it contributes to 22 percent of cancer death causes,” he said.