PETALING JAYA, June 21 — Malaysia is working on developing the Lung Health Initiative as part of the National Strategic Plan for Cancer Control Programme 2021-2025, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said.

The initiative involves the public, private and third sectors working together to prevent and control lung cancer in the country, he added.

“As many well know, lung cancer is the third most common cancer in Malaysia where 95 per cent of the cases were diagnosed at a later stage, which is Stage Three and Stage Four.

“This initiative will also strengthen the control of tobacco product use including electronic cigarettes, (which is) a major risk factor for lung cancer, especially among children and teenagers,” he said in his opening remarks at the launch of the National Cancer Congress Malaysia (NCCM) 2024 at Sunway University here, today.

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Citing the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Globocan Report 2020, he said there was an estimated 19.3 million new cases of cancer in terms of incidence, 9.9 million cancer deaths in terms of mortality and 50 million people living with cancer within five years of diagnosis in terms of prevalence.

Dzulkefly noted that Malaysia was no exception as the number of reported cancer cases increased by 46.5 per cent during 2017 to 2021 compared to the period of 2012 to 2016.

“The NCCM 2024 aligns seamlessly with our National Strategic Plan for Cancer Control Programme 2021-2025 by addressing cancer prevention and control from a holistic viewpoint.

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“By fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among experts and stakeholders, this congress will undoubtedly contribute to the successful implementation of our national cancer control strategies,” he said.

The three-day congress, from today until June 23, offers a specialised platform for in-depth discussions and exchange of knowledge between renowned international speakers, healthcare professionals, policymakers, advocates and researchers. — Bernama