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JOHOR BARU: The average age of patients being diagnosed with cancer is getting younger.
According to Breast Cancer Support Group (BCSG) of Johor Baru, some victims are in their 20s.
"In fact, we have a 19-year-old in our group suffering from breast cancer. That is why it is important to adopt a healthy lifestyle that is free of stress," said BCSG vice-president Margaret Khoo, a cancer survivor for 20 years.
"We notice that more younger patients are joining the group over the past five years."
Khoo said this recently when met at a fast-paced flash mob dance held at Johor Baru City Square.
Dr J.P. Lim choreographed the dance to the tune of Let's Twist Again, made popular by Chubby Checker.
The jolt of energy created by some 80 members of the BCSG, clad in pink attire, prompted spectators to join in the dancing as well.
The event was organised in conjunction with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"Having breast cancer should not stop one from being positive about life. It is important to be happy as stress is also a contributor to all kinds of illnesses," said Khoo, adding that exercise and breast examination for early detection can save lives.
Khoo encouraged women to practise self-breast checks at home.
As for the flash mob, Khoo said it was the first time the BCSG was performing in the mall.
"The members practised the dance moves for about a month at our centre before the event. The message of the flash mob is to spread awareness on cancer, as well as promote exercise and fun," Khoo said.
BCSG, which was formed in March 2004, currently has about 400 members. Of these, 250 are cancer patients and survivors.
Ruzita Ali, 45, a BCSG member and survivor from Taman Daya, said she has adopted a new outlook in life since joining the group.
"I was diagnosed with the disease in 2008 and my last check-up with a health professional was in 2004," she said.
Ruzita said she was initially afraid to accept the fact that she had cancer but her husband Zakaria Abu Bakar, who is a volunteer with the group, was very supportive.
"I have two children aged 20 and 16. Although some people consider cancer a terminal disease, I believe that our fate is determined by Allah."
Ruzita has undergone six cycles of chemotherapy and 20 sessions of radiotherapy. She is presently going for follow-up sessions at Hospital Sultan Ismail.
"I am grateful for the support that has made me stronger," she said.