Race to control cancer in 12 years

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 16 Dec 2003

PENANG: The Health Ministry aims to control or even eliminate certain types of cancers by 2015, as the major types of malignancies affecting Malaysians are preventable and curable. 

Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said it was alarming that Malaysia recorded among the highest rates of nose, throat and cervical cancers in the world. 

“For instance, lung cancer, the leading cancer among Malaysian men and fourth major cancer among women, can be significantly reduced if more people heed our anti-smoking call,” he said, adding that tobacco also caused other tumours including cancers of the throat, kidney and mouth. 

Top priority would be given to prevention through health education as well as early detection and treatment, he said in his speech that was read out by parliamentary secretary S. Sothinathan at the launch of the first five-year report from the Penang Cancer Registry (PCR) yesterday. 

Chua said cervical cancer could be prevented through good sexual hygiene and that breast cancer could also be prevented through a diet rich in fruits and vegetable and low in saturated fats. 

Similar to the findings of the National Cancer Registry Report (NCR), he said the five-year PCR report (1994-1998) also showed that the incidence of cancer was highest among the Chinese and that stomach cancer was most prevalent among Indians. 

“This interesting observation should be further investigated to determine the reason behind the ethnic differences,” he said. 

He said the ministry would collaborate with the National Cancer Institute of the United States to reduce suffering and deaths due to cancer. 

Based on the data from the NCR and PCR, the ministry would now look into identifying sub-groups in the population that were at high risk of cancer and the local risk factors involved in various cancers, he said.  

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