Covid-19 pandemic affected early screening of cancer: NCSM MD

MELAKA: The Covid-19 pandemic that occurred over a year ago made it difficult for many cancer patients to undergo early screening, preventing the detection of the illness in its early stages.

National Casncer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) managing director Dr M. Murallitharan said the situation happened as a result of various factors including constraints to get screening and treatment at the hospital during the period.

He said most of these patients were suffering from breast cancer and colon cancer.

"Since the spread of Covid-19, we saw a significant impact in terms of early cancer detection in the country compared to before Covid-19.

"For example, about 90 per cent of cancer patients whom I have treated or met are in stage three or four, and the situation is very worrying," he told reporters after launching the video clip of the song 'Saya Anak Malaysia' with NCSM Cancer Survivors here today.

Also present at the event was State Entrepreneur Development, Cooperatives and Consumer Affairs Committee chairman Allex Seah Shoo Chin, as well as lyricist and singer of 'Saya Anak Malaysia', Dr Sam Rasputin.

Meanwhile, Murallitharan said the number of late-diagnosed cancer patients was expected to increase in the next five years, therefore proactive efforts needed to be implemented to provide early screening access to people in the country at various levels including the community and government agencies.

He said NCSM actively implemented early diagnosis programmes for the people, especially in rural areas, besides holding more awareness programmes on cancer and early detection so that the illness could be better treated.

He said there had been a slight increase in the number of colon cancer patients recently, especially involving men in their early 40s, compared to those in their 50s previously.

Earlier, he said the 3-minute 48-second video clip of the song 'Saya Anak Malaysia' was produced over three weeks with the participation of over 60 volunteers and cancer survivors from Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah and Perak.

He added that the video clip was produced in conjunction with the National Day, aimed at giving a shot in the arm to cancer survivors or patients in the country to unite in fighting against the disease. -- BERNAMA

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