Most Malaysians don’t know the signs of cancer

21 Jun 2019 / 00:20 H.

PUTRAJAYA: Fear of cancer is enough to push more than 90% of Malaysians to visit their doctors within two weeks of seeing tell-tale signs of the disease.

However, less than half of them know where to look.

In Malaysia, breast cancer is most widespread among women, while colorectal cancer is most common among men.

However, two surveys conducted last year showed that only 33% of men would notice a sign of colorectal cancer if they saw one. On the other hand, women are more perceptive. A total of 58% of them are confident that they will sense something is amiss if they see signs of breast cancer.

The findings from two surveys – for colorectal cancer among men conducted from April to May, and for breast cancer among women from September to October – were presented at the launch of the “Be Cancer Alert Campaign” (BCAC) stakeholder seminar at the Health Ministry here today. More than 1,000 people took part in the two surveys.

The BCAC is a mass media campaign to improve awareness about both cancers and to encourage early detection.

Universiti Malaya and Monash University professor Tin Tin Su said the surveys also showed that only 11% of men aged 50 and above were screened for colorectal cancer in the last five years, while 30% of women participants had a mammogram within the past two years.

“It is therefore not surprising that breast and colorectal cancers are often detected late – at stages three or four,“ Su said. “These findings highlight the urgent need for cancer education among Malaysians.”

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