‘Unity needed to fight cancer’

National 2 minutes, 3 seconds


CANCER is a disease with major implications for the socioeconomic development and welfare of families and the community, so it’s imperative for everyone to work together in preventing, controlling and beating the disease.

Dr Hjh Norhayati Hj Md Kassim, head of the Health Promotion Centre (HPC) at the Ministry of Health (MoH), said this yesterday on behalf of the ministry’s Director-General, Dr Zainal Ariffin Hj Yahya, during a World Cancer Day 2016 event held at the HPC.

“Some of the main challenges in dealing with cancer in Brunei include the preparation of various specialised and expert treatments, sophisticated infrastructure as well as a skilled workforce. (This) requires high financial allocation, especially with the treatment and management of cancer cases,” said Dr Hjh Norhayati.

Organised by the HPC in collaboration with The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC), the World Cancer Day 2016 event carried the global theme of ‘We can. I can’.

The event consisted of a public forum with three panelists: TBCC Specialist Oncologist Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr Babu Sukumaran, Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital Consultant Oncologist and NCD Prevention and Control Unit Head Associate Professor Dr Hj Muhd Syafiq Abdullah and colorectal cancer patient Pg Hjh Rokiah Pg Abdullah.

Among the main messages put forward by both oncologists were the significance of practising healthier lifestyles through a better diet and regular physical activity as well as the importance of early screening for cancers.

Associate Professor Dr Hj Muhd Syafiq said that modifying risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol could contribute to less risk of not just cancer but also cardiovascular diseases, diabetes as well as chronic respiratory diseases.

Dato Dr Babu said breast cancer was the most common cancer among Bruneians from 2004 to 2013 followed closely by colorectal cancer.

He also talked about possible cancer signs and symptoms which include new lumps or swellings, sores or ulcers that won’t heal, changes in the shape, size or colour of a mole, blood in urine or bowel movement as well as coughs, hoarseness or difficulty in swallowing which persist for more than four weeks.

Meanwhile, Pg Hjh Rokiah gave a first-hand account of accepting and handling cancer, underscoring the importance of family support towards cancer patients’ resolve to beat the disease.

Besides the forum, a public exhibition on World Cancer Day was also set up at the HPC as well as free breast examinations.

The Brunei Times