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. 

 


’We failed them’: Australia apologizes to child sex abuse victims

Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison (C) delivers a national apology to child sex abuse victims in the House of Representatives in Parliament House in Canberra on October 22, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 27 min 1 sec ago
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’We failed them’: Australia apologizes to child sex abuse victims

  • The state apology comes after a five-year Royal Commission that detailed more than 15,000 survivors’ harrowing child sex abuse claims involving thousands of institutions

CANBERRA: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a national apology to victims of child sex abuse in an emotional address to parliament Monday, acknowledging the state failed to stop “evil dark crimes” committed over decades.
“This was done by Australians to Australians, enemies in our midst, enemies in our midst,” Morrison told parliament in a nationally televised address.
“As a nation, we failed them, we forsook them, and that will always be our shame,” he said, his voice cracking as he recounted abuse that permeated religious and state-backed institutions.
Decrying abuse that happened “day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade” in schools, churches, youth groups, scout groups, orphanages, sports clubs and family homes, Morrison declared a new national credo in the face of allegations: “We believe you.”
“Today, we say sorry, to the children we failed. Sorry. To the parents whose trust was betrayed and who have struggled to pick up the pieces. Sorry. To the whistleblowers, who we did not listen to. Sorry.
“To the spouses, partners, wives, husbands, children, who have dealt with the consequences of the abuse, cover-ups and obstruction. Sorry. To generations past and present. Sorry.”
The state apology comes after a five-year Royal Commission that detailed more than 15,000 survivors’ harrowing child sex abuse claims involving thousands of institutions.
In parliament, lawmakers stood for a moment of silence following the remarks as hundreds of survivors looked on or watched in official events across the country.
Relatives of victims who have died wore the tags with the names of daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, for whom this apology comes too late.
A series of institutions have already apologized for their failings, including Australian Catholic leaders who have lamented the church’s “shameful” history of child abuse and cover-ups.
According to the Royal Commission, seven percent of Catholic priests in Australia were accused of abuse between 1950 and 2010, but the allegations were never investigated, with children ignored and even punished.
Some senior members of the church in Australia have been prosecuted and found guilty of covering up abuse.