Rise in cancer deaths in M'sia

The incidence of cancer in Malaysia increased from 32,000 new cases in 2008 to 37,400 in 2012. This number is expected to rise to 56,932 by 2025 if no action is taken.

Mortality due to cancer stood at 20,100 deaths in 2008 and has increased to 21,700 deaths in 2012, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Globocan of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Building on this, the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) is organising the World Cancer Day Conference and Expo 2014 on Feb 22 to advocate the need for prevention and early detection of the disease.

The WCD Conference and Expo 2014 will carry two main themes, namely Oncology in General Practice for medical practitioners and Cancer – Prevention, Early Diagnosis and Treatment Options for the public, as well as a few sessions for cancer survivors.

The conference aims to educate the public and expand on the knowledge of medical practitioners in the country and serve as an exchange dialogue on how cancer affects societies, and how patients can deal with cancer.

Among the highlights of the WCD Conference and Expo2014 include targeted therapies in clinical development; antibody, vaccines and cell-based therapies, the role of genetics in screening, diagnosis and treatment of cancer as well as updates on new technologies on imaging for early detection, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation on cancer.

New insights on nutrition and the treatment of oncology patients, symptoms of lung cancer, the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns, child cancers and surviving cancer are also part of the topics to be presented.

Worldwide, new cancer incidences over four years increased by 11% to an estimated 14.1 million cases in 2012 — equal to the population of India’s largest city Mumbai.

Based on statistics released by Globoscan 2012, cancer cases worldwide are forecast to rise by 75% and reach close to 25 million over the next two decades.

Cancer was the biggest cause of mortality worldwide — there were an estimated 8.2 million deaths from cancer in 2012.

Specifically, by 2025, almost 80% of the increase in the number of all cancer deaths will occur in less developed regions.

By 2030, developing countries will bear the brunt of the estimated 21.4 million new cancer cases per year.

To fight against the global cancer epidemic, World Cancer Day is observed yearly on Feb 4 as a reminder that everyone can take action to dispel the myths about cancer and work together to reduce the burden of the disease.

The international day marks the unlimited opportunities for societies to be part of the continued progress and advocacy in the field of oncology.

It aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.

This year, World Cancer Day focuses on reducing stigma and dispelling myths about cancer through the theme ‘Debunk the Myths.’

Debunking the myths include:

Myth 1: We don’t need to talk about cancer

Truth: Whilst cancer can be a difficult topic to address, particularly in some cultures and settings, dealing with the disease openly can improve outcomes at an individual, community and policy level.

Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer

Truth: For many cancers, there are warning signs and symptoms and the benefits of early detection are indisputable.

Myth 3: There is nothing I can do about cancer

Truth: There is a lot that can be done at an individual, community and policy level and with the right strategies; a third of the most common cancers can be prevented.

Myth 4: I don’t have the right to cancer care

Truth: All people have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatments and services on equal terms, and without suffering hardship as a consequence.

NCSM is organising the conference in partnership with Infomed Malaysia and Clinical Research Malaysia, supported by the Malaysian Oncological Society.

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