On World Cancer Day, Health Ministry urges Malaysians to lead a healthy lifestyle

04 Feb 2022 04:43pm
Health Minsiter Khairy Jamaluddin
Health Minsiter Khairy Jamaluddin

SHAH ALAM - This year’s World Cancer Day revolves around the theme “Close the Care Gap”.

It aims to raise awareness and encourage the public to take part in efforts to curb the growing number of cancer cases.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said cancer is a non-communicable disease (NCD) and also the second biggest cause of death in Malaysia with the number of cases and deaths keep on increasing each year.

The ministry has reported an 11 per cent (115,238) increase of cancer cases from 2012 to 2016 compared to 103,507 cases from 2007 to 2011.

The top three cancers that most often affect men, he said were colorectal cancer (16.0 per cent), lung cancer (14.8 per cent) and prostate cancer (8.1 per cent), while among the cancers that most often affect women were breast cancer (33.9per cent), colorectal cancer (10.7 per cent) and cervical cancer (6.2 per cent).

“The survival rates for cancer patients after five years being diagnosed with the disease is 11.0 per cent for lung cancer, 51.1 per cent for colorectal cancer, 51.6 per cent for cervical cancer and 66.8 per cent and 73.0 per cent for breast cancer.

“Over 63.7 per cent of the total cancer cases were detected at the advanced stage (stage III and IV). This contributes to the indicator of the survival rate of the patients,” he said in a statement today.

Khairy said not only cancer has a negative affect on the patient, but it would also negatively impact the patients’ family members psychosocially and economically besides having a negative affect on the country’s economic development.

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Meawwhile, he said the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated that one- third of deaths due to cancer were related to tobacco consumption (including smoking), obesity, not eating enough vegetables and fruits and lack of physical activity.

Khairy said it was important to remember that tobacco was the leading cause of cancer and it contributes to 22 per cent of death and the estimated costs to treat lung cancer caused by smoking was RM132.7 million.

He added that the ministry is currently looking into the implementation of a smoking ban for future generations through the Generational End Game allocation under the new Tobacco and Smoking Control Act that will be tabled soon.

The ministry, he said has been providing the best quality treatment and care for cancer patients in Malaysia.

However, he said it was undeniable that there were inequalities in cancer care and treatment in the country as most services focused on the city centres and there were difficulties in reaching to patients living in rural areas.

The previous government, through the ministry, had introduced Healthcare Scheme for B40 Group (PeKa B40), a scheme for the low income groups in the country which included specific cancer screenings, medical device assistance, incentives to complete cancer treatment as well as transportation fare incentives.

“We need a reform in the health system which will also include the reform of the healthcare financing system.

“In this regard, the Health Ministry has proposed a white paper to be tabled in Parliament for the support of both the government and the oppositions to combat NCDs that is currently on the rise.

“In conjunction with World Cancer Day, this year, I urge everyone to always practice healthy living and take care of our health.

“Let’s work together and support the ministry in reducing the number of cancer cases and together close the cancer care gap in the country,” he said.