Chua: One in four will be afflicted


  • Nation
  • Saturday, 05 Jul 2003

By AUDREY EDWARDS

KUALA LUMPUR: One in four Malaysians can expect to suffer from cancer in their lifetime with the majority of cases aged above 40, according to the first National Cancer Registry (NCR) Report. 

Describing the trend as “disturbing”, Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said a Cabinet paper would be presented detailing the findings of the report as well as strategies to combat the disease. 

“I have instructed the Clinical Research Centre (under the ministry) and expert panels to prepare a Cabinet paper. We need the support of the Cabinet,” he told reporters yesterday after launching the 1st National Cancer Registry Report and 1st NCR Scientific Meeting. 

Among the other significant findings of the NCR report are: 

·Breast cancer remains the most common cancer in all ethnic groups in women aged 20 and above; 

·Lung cancer is the most common cancer among males of all three major ethnic groups;  

·Chinese have the highest risk of getting cancer, followed by Indians and Malays, with ratios standing at 1:4, 1:5 and 1:7 respectively, while the risk is 1:4 for Malaysians when unregis- 

tered cases are taken into account; 

·82% of all new cancer patients will be aged 40 and above; 

·About 40,000 new cases are reported yearly; 

·One in 19 Malaysian women will get breast cancer but Chinese women have a risk of 1 in 14; 

·Malaysian women top the list of those getting nasopharyngeal (nose) and mouth cancer worldwide; 

·Chinese are most vulnerable to breast, lung or nose cancers, Indians to mouth, larynx, oesophagus and tongue cancers, and Malays to thyroid cancer, lymphatic leukaemia and lymphoma. 

The report also found that Malaysian men were most likely to get cancers of the lung, nasopharynx, colon, leukaemia, rectum and prostate while women would be vulnerable to cancers of the breast, cervix, colon, ovary, leukaemia and lung. 

A total of 26,089 cases were diagnosed in peninsular Malaysia last year and over 10,000 cases were estimated to be unregistered.  

The findings also showed that Malaysia was reaching developed nation status, as the pattern of cancer patients was similar to those of Australia, the United States and Singapore. 

Among the strategies for battling cancer, Chua said, were ensuring sufficient trained human resources and physical infrastructure, and a holistic approach to managing patients such as providing preventive treatment. 

The country needed 120 haematologists and paediatric oncologists but currently only had 16 and 11 respectively, while there were only 37 clinical oncologists when 100 were required, he added.  

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