Campaign returns to improve Asian cancer survivorship via research

World Reverse Cancer Day is championing a future free from the fear of cancer through impactful research. Dr. Aisha (centre) is seen here with cancer survivors Sumathi Muthu Krishnan (left) and Rosalind Tan at the launch

Cancer Research Malaysia (CRM) has unveiled its “Reverse The Views To Reverse Cancer” video to mark the celebration of the “Reverse Cancer Day 2019” campaign.

Back for a second year, the campaign has a single mission – rallying support for Asian-focused research to create impactful cancer prevention, detection and treatment solutions, which in the long run will increase survivorship.

Reverse Cancer Day is celebrated on April 2, the reverse of World Cancer Day observed on Feb 4 annually.

This year, the campaign was launched by Toh Puan Datuk Seri Dr Aishah Ong, chairman of the board of trustees.

Speaking at the launch, CRM chief executive officer Datin Paduka Prof Dr Teo Soo Hwang said, “In the next five years, the World Health Organisation projects that 45 million people across Asia will have cancer. Because of research done yesterday, many of these cancer patients will survive cancer – you could say that research has reversed cancer from a deadly disease to one that could be controlled.

“Reverse Cancer Day campaign aims to increase the awareness that we need to keep supporting medical research so that survival can continue to improve,” she added.

Statistics show that four decades ago, one in every four cancer patients survived. As technology advances, every two out of four people survive cancer today.

Unfortunately, even though Asians make up nearly half of the world’s population, they make up less than 10% of the research.

Some cancers which are more common in Asians are understudied. Genetics, which is different in Asians, is also understudied and this could impact the risk to disease and response to treatment.

CRM is seeking to change that by finding ways to improve survival from cancer in Asians.

The focus of this year’s campaign was a narrative short video featuring various personalities, from cancer patients and survivors, to care- givers and social media influencers like Cody and May Hong, sharing their journey and their call to action for more research into Asian cancers.

The video features a reverse view counting system. It starts at the count of 45 million views to represent the number of Asians expected to be diagnosed with cancer over the next five years, with the total count dropping with every view.

“We hope that through these real stories from cancer patients, their friends and loved ones, Malaysians will rally behind the campaign to help us find better ways to reverse cancer.

“Every view of the video denotes one less person is less aware that the majority of current research misses Asians,” Prof Teo added.

He said CRM was leading studies on how Asian genetics influence risk to the disease and response to treatment.

“We work with global teams to find better ways to prevent and cure cancers which are common in Asians, and our patient-oriented solutions are already improving outcomes for low income women.

“We have done this by working with global and local teams to ensure that we bring the best possible researchers to find solutions to cancers in Asians,” Prof Teo said.

The campaign aims to reverse the stigma around cancer, by championing good research to fight cancer on all fronts.

It drives home the message that future generations could live in a world where cancer can be affordably controlled and no longer feared.

“The journey to building a future where cancer is no longer feared is a challenging one and it requires the cooperation from all parties.

“May this year’s campaign help push the frontier of cancer medical research in Malaysia, and improve the cancer survival rate for all, especially Asians,” said Dr Aishah.

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