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. 

 


Man killed by plane taking off from Russia’s main airport

Updated 25 sec ago
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Man killed by plane taking off from Russia’s main airport

  • The incident occurred in Sheremetyevo airport at around 8pm on Tuesday
  • Aeroflot said on its website Wednesday that a number of flights have been rescheduled as one of the three runways was closed
MOSCOW: A man was killed on the runway at Moscow’s largest airport when he was hit by a plane that was taking off, Russian investigators said Wednesday.
Russian news agencies quoted sources as saying the man was on a stopover in Moscow and had earlier picked a fight on board his flight from Spain.
The 25-year-old somehow ended up on the runway where “a Boeing 737 plane inflicted deadly injuries on him during takeoff,” the Russian Investigative Committee said on Twitter.
The incident occurred in Sheremetyevo airport at around 8pm on Tuesday as the plane was taking off on a flight to Athens.
The head of Russia’s aviation watchdog Alexander Neradko told Russian agencies that the plane was operated by Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot.
Investigators said in a video posted on Twitter that they found down from the man’s coat and a shoelace among the fragments scattered on the runway. No official criminal probe has been launched yet.
Sheremetyevo Airport did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Russian news agencies said the man had been escorted by police in Sheremetyevo to the boarding gate for his connecting flight, but then walked away instead of boarding a bus to the plane.
Sources quoted by Russian agencies said the man had been due to fly on to Armenia.
Interfax news agencies also quoted a source as saying that airport services and police inspected the plane when it landed in Athens and found “holes” in the fuselage.
Aeroflot, which flies from Sheremetyevo, said on its website Wednesday that a number of flights have been rescheduled as one of the three runways was closed.