More Malaysians diagnosed with cancer than ever before, new data reveals

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said according to the report, breast cancer was the most common form of cancer among Malaysians throughout 2012-2016. ― AFP pic
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said according to the report, breast cancer was the most common form of cancer among Malaysians throughout 2012-2016. ― AFP pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — The number of new cancer cases recorded in Malaysia over a period of five years from 2012 to 2016 has increased to 115,238 from 103,507 cases recorded in the corresponding period of 2007 to 2011.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Age Standardised Incidence Rate for cancer stood at 86 cases for every 100,000 male population, and 102 cases for every 100,000 female population.

He said the statistics were based on the second five-year report of the Malaysia National Cancer Registry 2012-2016 published by the National Cancer Institute.

“The report also stated that the number of cancer cases detected at stage three and four has risen from 58.7 per cent (2007-2011) to 63.7 per cent (2012–2016).

“This is worrying because the findings of the Malaysian Study on Cancer Survival published in October 2018 showed that the later the cancer is detected, the lower the patient’s survival rate will be,” he said in a statement here today.

According to the report, he said breast cancer topped the chart of 10 types of cancer found among Malaysians throughout 2012-2016, followed by colorectal cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma, nasopharyngeal cancer, leukaemia, prostate cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer and ovarian cancer.

He said a subgroup analysis based on gender found that colorectal, lung and prostate cancers were highest among the male population, while breast, colorectal and cervical cancers were highest among the women.

“The types of cancer most detected in children aged 0 to 14 are leukaemia and spinal cord cancer, while lymphoma is mostly detected in youths aged 15 to 24,” he said.

However, Dr Noor Hisham said, throughout the period, the number of cervical cancer cases has dropped from eight to six for every 100,000 female population in Malaysia.

“This drop is probably due to the success of the early detection campaign, including the pap smear made available by the government at all health facilities in the country. However, there is a significant rise in the number of cases of breast and colorectal cancer,” he said.

Dr Noor Hisham said another subgroup analysis based on ethnicity revealed that the Chinese community made up the highest number of cancer patients, followed by the Malays and Indians.

“In every 100,000 Chinese population, 106 men and 117 women have cancer. For the Malays, the incidence rates are 74 cases in men and 91 in women for every 100,000 population, while among the Indians, the incidence rates are 67 cases in men and 107 in women for every 100,000 population,” he said.

Hence, he said the ministry concluded that the report also showed a growing burden of cancer among the Malaysian population and it is hoped that all the relevant quarters could make optimal use of the report findings to plan and evaluate the effectiveness of cancer control and prevention programmes.

The full report can be downloaded from http://nci.moh.gov.my

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