Health minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad plants a tree at the Pantai Hospital. Also present (from left) Dr M. Narayanan (Medical Director & PIC of Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur), Dr Anand Sachithanandan (Co-founder and President of Lung Cancer Network Malaysia), Dr Tho Lye Mun (Co-founder of Lung Cancer Network Malaysia), Fahmi Fadzil (Lembah Pantai MP), Erica Lam (CEO of Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur), Datuk Dr Mahendra Raj (MDAC chairman) and Dr Helmy Haja Mydin (Head of Respiratory Medicine). Asyrafrasid/ the sun

KUALA LUMPUR: Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur (PHKL) and Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) have initiated the “Save The Green Lung” campaign to increase the awareness of early lung cancer screening among Malaysians.

The campaign was officiated by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Bin Ahmad yesterday.

The campaign is in line with the ministry’s focus on anti-smoking and lung cancer prevention, and also supports the mandate of the National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Disease and National Strategic Plan on Tobacco Control.

“The ‘Save The Green Lung’ campaign is timely as Malaysia sets a target to become a tobacco-free country by 2045. With the Tobacco Control Act coming in force in January 2020, we have seen increasing success in reducing the number of smokers. We are hopeful that we will be able to lower the risk of smokers and non-smokers from getting the ‘big C’ especially lung cancer. I foresee this new campaign will contribute positively to preventing smoking and cancer altogether,” said Dzulkefly at the launch.

As part of the campaign, Consultant Respiratory Physicians at PHKL are providing limited free low-dose computed tomography (CT) scans for high-risk smokers aged 45 to 75 years old with a 20 pack-years history of smoking, redeemable on Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM)’s website at www.lungcancer.net.my on first-come-first-served basis. In addition, PHKL is also giving subsidised lung cancer screening from now until February 2020.

“I urge members of the public who are at high risk to take up this opportunity get your lungs screened. If lung cancer is detected before it spreads, the likelihood of surviving 5 years or more improves by up to 56 percent,” added Dzulkefly.

Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur chief executive officer Erica Lam added, “Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur has been fighting cancer since 1981. The hospital participates actively in various campaigns against cancer, including partnering other parties on public education efforts to raise awareness on cancer. Besides advocating healthy living and screening for early cancer detection, we also enhance our treatment facilities and train our nurses and allied health professionals to stay abreast of new advances in cancer management. All these are vital to ensure delivery of comprehensive cancer care in our hospital.”

According to Malaysian Study on Cancer Survival (MySCan), lung cancer has by far the worst survival rate of all local cancers with a five-year relative survival of just 11 months and a median survival time of only 6.8 months. Alarmingly, between 89 per cent and 91 per cent of Malaysians are diagnosed with lung cancer only at the advanced stage.

“We need to raise public awareness that early recognition of symptoms and early diagnosis saves lives. For this reason, LCNM is working with seven partner hospitals including Pantai Kuala Lumpur, to offer 150 free low dose CT scanning for at-risk individuals in November which is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Through a combination of surgery and the latest radiotherapy techniques, targeted therapies, chemotherapy and immunotherapy; lung cancer is potentially curable,” said co-founder of Lung Cancer Network Malaysia Dr Tho Lye Mun.