Lifestyle diseases such as cancer reach epidemic levels in Malaysia

Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy treatment in a hospital. (Shutterstock image)
Updated 11 October 2018
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Lifestyle diseases such as cancer reach epidemic levels in Malaysia

  • Malaysia is approaching an “epidemiologic transition” where diseases related to lifestyle habits have progressively become more prevalent, health minister says
  • The study shows that early detection through scientific diagnosis is key to a higher survival rate among cancer patients

 

KUALA LUMPUR: Cancer has been found to be the second largest cause of death in the world — and the fourth largest common cause of death among Malaysians, according to the latest report released by the country’s Health Ministry.

The latest report titled “Malaysian Study on Cancer Survival (MySCan)” was published by the Malaysian National Cancer Registry under the ministry’s National Cancer Institute, in which it researched the five-year relative survival rate for 15 of the most common cancers in Malaysia between 2007 and 2011.

The report said that cancer was responsible for 12.6 percent of all deaths in government hospitals, and the figure rose to 26.7 percent in private hospitals.

The 72-page report revealed that there are about 37,000 newly diagnosed cases of cancer every year, and the number is estimated to rise to more than 55,000 by 2030. 

Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad acknowledged that Malaysia is approaching an “epidemiologic transition” where diseases related to lifestyle habits, including cardiovascular diseases and cancers, have progressively become more prevalent.

Dr. Goh Kiam Seong, a medical doctor in one of the public hospitals in Malaysia, told Arab News that various factors can contribute to cancer. “The modern lifestyle, smoking, genetic factors, and environmental pollutions … all can contribute.

“Basically, the earlier the detection, the higher the survival rate.”

Cancer is the second largest cause of death in the world, leading to 8.8 million deaths in 2015.

The findings also showed that early detection through scientific diagnosis is key to a higher survival rate among cancer patients.

It found out that patients suffering from thyroid, prostate, corpus uteri, female breast and colon cancers have the highest survival rates at 82.3 percent, 73 percent, 70.56 percent, 66.8 percent and 56.8 percent respectively.

The most worrying cancers with the lowest five-year relative survival rate are pancreas (14 percent), heart (12.8 percent) and lung cancers (11 percent). 

MySCan also revealed genetic factors play into the survival rates for different types of cancer.

The research findings were based on 72,884 cases, involving 43,621 female and 29,263 male patients.

In the report’s introduction, Dzulkefly emphasised that “the Malaysian government recognized cancer as an important health concern among Malaysians... it is committed to cancer control and prevention strategies in reducing incidence, mortality and improving cancer survival.”

Goh said that cancer awareness was increasing among Malaysians and the government hospitals are receiving a lot of referrals nowadays from Malaysia’s public health clinics.

“We actually have health screening services in these health clinics, though not everyone is aware of it,” he said. 

Public health clinics are available for Malaysians and are heavily subsidized. Patients need to pay only RM1 ($0.25) for basic health services and screenings. 

 


US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Updated 44 min 45 sec ago
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US not renewing sanctions waivers for importing Iranian oil, working with Saudi Arabia and UAE

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said the US would be ending sanction waivers for countries importing Iranian oil, increasing economic pressure on the regime, according to a White House Statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was to discuss the move at the State Department Monday morning. The decision means sanctions waivers for five nations, including China and India and U.S. treaty allies Japan, South Korea and Turkey, will not be renewed when they expire on May 2.

The statement said that the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had "agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market."

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Monday that he believed global oil markets would be able to handle the US decision to force buyers of Iranian oil to either end imports or face sanctions, despite Monday's surge in oil prices.

"I think that the global oil markets are poised to be able to deal with this," Kevin Hassett said in an interview with CNBC. 

The move comes as the administration toughens its already strict penalties on Iran by trying to choke off all the revenue the country makes from oil sales.

The waivers had been in place since November, when the administration re-imposed sanctions on Iran after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

They were granted in part to give those countries time to eliminate their purchases of Iranian oil but also to ease any impact on global energy markets with the abrupt removal of Iran's production.

Pompeo says now that production increases elsewhere will make up for the loss of Iranian oil on the market.

(With Agencies)