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Get the Pink October message across!
Oct 16, 2020
Get tested for breast cancer!
It’s a message we’ve all heard before especially every October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness month.
But the National Cancer Society of Malaysia feels this is a message that needs repeating because frankly, not enough of us are listening.
NCSM medical director Dr. Murallitharan M says too few Malaysian women are getting tested. He explains that this can be clearly seen in the stats from the National Health and Morbidity survey.
“Three in four women above the age of 40 here have not had a mammogram. This means around 75% of women in the target category who should be getting mammograms, are not doing so. That’s why we keep harping on this message”
Dr. Murallitharan also says many women who do get screened are not doing it early enough.
Many are only getting diagnosed at the late stages of their cancer which significantly reduces their chances of survival.
He adds that Malaysia’s five-year survival rate for breast cancer is only 66.8%, which is lower than any other country with comparable socio-economic capacity.
Coronavirus causes complications
The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has also made the NCSM’s work a lot more challenging.
Dr. Muralli says the need for physical distancing has forced them to move a lot of their awareness campaigns and activities online, which means many women in rural areas are missing out.
“It is really a challenge reaching communities who have poor access to the internet. Because these are the groups that really need the awareness on breast cancer, but we cannot connect with them in person at this point.”
Despite these challenges, the NCSM soldiers on.
To help it better connect with the public, it has a toll-free cancer information helpline at 1-800-88-1000.
This free helpline is staffed by trained healthcare professionals, offering access to clinical psychologist services, counselling services, dietetic and nutrition services, as well peer support services.
Cancer patients, caregivers and members of the public are encouraged to call in, with the service available in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Tamil and Mandarin.
There is also the NCSM’s ongoing free mammography program, which is open to all under-privileged women aged 40 and above in Peninsular Malaysia.
You can get more information on this, and also access other useful resources by checking out the NCSM’s Facebook page.
So help get the message out! If you’re reading this, reach out to your mothers, daughters, aunts, friends and loved ones… and encourage them to come forward for screening.
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