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(File pix) Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad. Pix by NSTP/Malai Rosmah Tuah

KUALA LUMPUR: An estimated, 60 per cent of cancer prognosis among patients in Malaysia is only detected at later stages of the dreaded disease.

The big C was usually only detected at Stage III and IV after it has struck its victims said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad.

He said among the main contributing factors for late detection is the lack of awareness on the importance of screening and early detection amongst Malaysians.

A critical aspect to be highlighted in cancer prevention and control is the importance of early detection he said.

Dr. Dzulkefly said that cancer has also emerged as the second highest cause of death among Malaysians.

The three most common cancers among men in Malaysia were colorectal (16.4 per cent), lung (15.8 per cent) and nasopharynx (8.1 per cent); whilst the three (3) most common cancers among women were breast (32.1 per cent), colorectal (10.7 per cent) and cervix (7.7 per cent).

This is expected to increase in the near future, attributable to the high prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) risk factors and an aging population, he said in a statement.

He adds that the Health Ministry (MOH) provides screening for four types of cancers, namely breast, cervical, colorectal and oral cancer at government health clinics nationwide.

Screening for specific cancers such as liver, prostate and nasopharynx for high-risk individuals are available at MOH hospitals.

Dr Dzulkefly was speaking this in conjunction with the World Cancer Day, which fall on Feb 4, annually.

He adds that the World Cancer Day is a global initiative to unite communities across the world in the war against cancer, with the aim of avoiding preventable deaths through early detection and raising awareness and knowledge amongst individuals, family members and communities.

This year, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) has introduced a theme which will be used for three years beginning 2019 to 2021, which is: “I Am and I Will”“Saya Akan dan Saya Boleh”

This theme empowers individuals to voice their commitments in taking action to overcome cancer.

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