Guard your gut against cancer, advise experts

MALAYSIAN experts are urging the public to undergo early screening for colon cancer in conjunction with World Digestive Health Day 2019, which is commemorated worldwide today.

Digestive Health Malaysia (DHM) chairman Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan said, “This year’s theme is ‘Early Diagnosis and Treatment of GI Cancer’.

“It is important to go for early screening as detecting it in its early stages will greatly improve your chances of beating it.”

DHM is an expert-driven organisation that educates and empowers Malaysians to manage their digestive health.

As many digestive diseases are closely linked to one’s lifestyle, the organisation emphasises that appropriate steps should be taken in order to lower one’s risks.

Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi also revealed that DHM is working in collaboration with the Vitagen Digestive Health Programme to roll out a campaign over the coming months to heighten awareness about gut problems and the importance of good gut health.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the most common cancer among men and the second most common cancer among women.

The Malaysian National Cancer Registry 2018 revealed that two in five people were diagnosed at advanced stages (Stages III and IV), while around one in five detected at its early stages (Stages and II).

Early screening for CRC is important as the early stages are usually asymptomatic, meaning that it shows little to no symptoms.

DHM deputy chairman Prof Dr Raja Affendi Raja Ali said, “Early screening should not be something to put on the back burner. Make it a point to get it done.

“However, cancer is not the only thing that should occupy your attention.

“Digestive health in general is extremely important as the gut functions as the body’s first line of defence against infections.”

Another DHM expert member Dr Tee E Siong stressed on the importance of a healthy lifestyle as an active form of prevention of gut diseases.

“It can help lower your risk of developing many non-communicable diseases such as cancer.

“Start with the basics, such as eating healthily and providing your body with the nutrients it needs, getting sufficient daily physical activity and exercise, ensuring you have enough rest and sleep, and staying well-hydrated.” 

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