KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Breast cancer cases in the country are at an alarming rate as 31.1 in every 100,000 people in the country are suffering from the number one killer disease of women, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad.

In most cases of breast cancer, he said, 43 per cent of those who had breast cancer screening tests were in the critical stages namely third and fourth.

“The government is committed in dealing with breast cancer cases. In the 2020 Budget, the government has allocated RM216.9 million for cancer treatment.

“Fight against breast cancer needs to involve the whole community not only the government and corporations as well as non-governmental organisations and individuals,” he told reporters after launching the third phase of the Etiqa Free Mamogram Programme in collaboration with the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM) here today.

The programme, which is being carried out in selected hospitals in peninsular Malaysia with an allocation of RM2 million, provides 6,000 free breast cancer screenings for underprivileged women aged 40 and above.

The first and second phases of the programme have benefited 11,000 underprivileged women in the peninsula.

Dr Dzulkefly said early diagnosis could prevent cancer patients from becoming more critical and difficult to treat which could lead to death.

Meanwhile, asked on compulsory immunisation, he said the decision on it would be announced in the near future. — Bernama