(File pix) Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid (centre) at the Kinabalu Pink Ribbon Charity Gala Dinner at Sutera Habour, yesterday. Pix courtesy of Sabah Comnunity Development and Consumer Affairs Ministry

KOTA KINABALU: The number of patients undergoing cancer treatment in Sabah are three times higher than than those in Western countries, a state minister said today.

Community Development and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Jainab Ahmad Ayid said about 8,000 people out of 3.5 million Sabah population are seeking treatment for various cancer-related illness.

“The figure is three times higher than Western countries, where one individual from each 10,000 people (is undergoing cancer treatment),” she said at the Kinabalu Pink Ribbon Charity Gala Dinner at Sutera Habour, yesterday.

Based on the statistics, furnished by Sabah Children and Women Hospital director (Dr Tan Bee Hwai) in a recent news report, Jainab said breast cancer treatment came up as the highest followed by cervical cancer treatment for women. The highest for men was colon cancer treatment.

She noted many of the critical breast cancer patients, aged between 40 and 60, were diagnosed late.

“Lack of awareness and seeking alternative treatment are factors that led to late detection. There are patients who choose to undergo non-hospital treatment without realising that their cancer has spread.

“There are also those who are not aware of the importance of undergoing screening test and early breast cancer detection,” she said.

Jainab also noted that breast cancer patients were also burdened by the high cost of chemotherapy treatment, which could reach between RM6,000 and RM40,000.

In the effort to detect breast cancer among women, she said the National Population and Family Development Board has conducted Mammogram Test Subsidy programme since 2007.

The programme is aimed at assisting women to do examination through a subsidised approach to increase early detection of breast cancer.

“Under the 2018 Budget, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry had on Oct 27 requested RM10 million allocations specifically for breast cancer patients from the low income and underprivileged group.

“This large allocation is hoped to help reduce the burden of breast cancer patients so they can look forward to a more positive life,” said Jainab.

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