Breast cancer screening for women

Sudhaharan (fifth from right), Puvaneswaran (third from right) and event organising committee chairman Dr S. Vishnu Raj (third from left) at the launch of the event.

THE Rotary Club of Seremban recently held a mammogram and pap smear screening programme for 20 women to create awareness of the importance of undergoing regular health checks.

The event, held in collaboration with the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) and Etiqa Insurance, was held at a private hospital here.

NCSM general manager Sudhaharan Nair said such programmes were important as “many women chose to ignore their yearly screenings due to ignorance and fear”.

“What are a few moments of pain compared to years of suffering? These screening events are necessary to remind them to be proactive about their health,” he said.

Sudhaharan, who is also Rotary District 3300 Action Group on Cancer Awareness and Prevention chairman, said such programmes were important as cancer has the second highest mortality rate in Malaysia after heart-related diseases in terms of non-accidental deaths.

“Sixty percent of cancer cases here are presented at late stages of the disease, resulting in more expensive treatment and high mortality rate. It is predicted that cancer incidence will rise from 37,000 cases in 2012 to 57,000 cases by 2025,” he said.

Sudhaharan said the reasons for the rise in the number of cases were low awareness and participation in cancer screening, or lack of affordability to do so.

He said breast cancer was the most common cancer across all ethnic and age groups in females and accounted for some 32% of newly diagnosed cases in Malaysia.

“Peak incidence of breast cancer in terms of age is between 50 and 59 years, while 43% of cases are detected in third and fourth stages,” he said.

He said NCSM launched the Community Outreach Free Screening Programme for underprivileged members of the community in 2015 and has since reached out to more than 15,000 people.

“Under the second phase, we aim to provide free mammograms for 6,000 women aged 40 and above, and free pap smears for 3,000 women aged above 21,” he said, adding NCSM will work with 15 screening centres in the peninsula except Perlis.

Rotary Club of Seremban chairman S. Puvaneswaran thanked NCSM and Etiqa for their joint efforts to help raise awareness among women.

“We are planning to do this on a monthly basis to help women in Seremban by registering them for the free mammogram and pap smear screening,” he said.

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