Brunei Cancer Centre logs in 600 new cases annually

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NEARLY 600 new cancer cases are diagnosed annually in Brunei, resulting in approximately 200 cancer-related deaths each year, according to statistics released by The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) yesterday.

In the past five years, cancer has overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in the country, with breast cancer and colorectal cancer the most prevalent among the population of 400,000.

An ageing population has meant that the prevalence of cancer is increasing in Brunei, as the weaker immune systems of elderly patients puts them at higher risk from developing the disease.

In 2015, the TBCC saw 8,282 outpatient visits, up 3.8 per cent from 7,967 visits in 2014, and 7,825 visits in 2013.

The chemotherapy day care unit saw 5,052 patient visits, an increase of 3.7 per cent from 4,864 visits in 2014, and 4,743 visits in 2013.

To cater to the growing health needs of the community, the government embarked on the construction of a new $100 million building for The Brunei Cancer Centre, which is slated for completion this year, providing therapeutic services such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, with new state-of-the-art linear accelerators, brachytherapy equipment, 3D planning system and CT-simulator.

Diagnostic imaging facilities such as MRI, CT scan and digital x-ray machines will also be available in the building.

A cyclotron, PET-CT scan and SPECT scan will provide the first ever nuclear medicine facility in the sultanate. The building will also house six radio-iodine isolation treatment rooms for thyroid diseases, as well as three new operating theatres for cancer-related surgeries.

The new building, which is located next to the Jerudong Park Medical Centre, will also house the Brunei Neuroscience, Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre.

“TBCC intends to become a cancer centre of excellence in Brunei Darussalam and in the region by providing comprehensive cancer treatment, reducing the morbidity and mortality due to cancer,” the centre said in a statement.

The centre said that newly diagnosed patients will be referred to TBCC where a team of specialists will assess the best course of treatment.

According to previous news reports, the Ministry of Health (MoH) said cancer rates are expected to continue rising over the next few decades, which the ministry to create a cancer registry to collect detail statistics to plan cancer prevention programmes.

The first report from the Brunei Darussalam Cancer Registry is expected soon, and will analyse data collected over a 10-year period from 2004 to 2013.

The TBCC said it will also work with other local agencies to promote awareness and early detection of cancer.

TBCC is a government entity whose overall operation is overseen by a board of directors, with operations led by an executive director and day-today functions managed by a medical director.

The centre is regulated by the Ministry of Health and all doctors and nurses working in the TBCC are registered with the Brunei Medical Board and the Brunei Nursing Board respectively.

The Brunei Times