MalaysiaKini – 19th May 2022
According to co-founder of the NGO Lung Cancer Network Malaysia (LCNM) Dr Tho Lye Mun, lung cancer is the second most common cancer among men in the country after colon cancer, and third most common among both men and women.
“One of the myths that is often heard from the public is to stop screening and seeing a doctor (because) the diagnosis of lung cancer will end in death and nothing more can be done. “(In fact) you can die in a few weeks,” said Dr Tho, who is the chief oncologist at Beacon Hospital in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Another LCNM co-founder Dr Anand Sachithanandan, said the purpose of early screening is to identify lung cancer so that early treatment could be done.
He said, patients are also able to live a better quality of life with various treatments that are very effective nowadays.
Touching on the financial constraints in seeking treatment, especially among the low-income group, Dr Tho said there is also treatment available at government hospitals at a minimal cost.
The LCNM awareness campaign will be held from June to November in collaboration with three hospitals – Beacon Hospital, Subang Jaya Medical Centre and Sunway Medical Centre – under the corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
In this program, patients only have to pay 10 percent of the cost of low-dose computerized tomography (LDCT) screening and consultation services from specialists.
As much as 90 percent of the cost is borne by LCNM.
More and More Women are Infected
As smoking is a major cause of the increase in lung cancer cases, Dr Tho and Dr Anand said that the campaign is targeted to the 45- to 75-year-old age group, who has smoked for over 20 years.
“There is also a growing phenomenon that more women who do not smoke are suffering from (lung) cancer.”
“Actually, 50 percent of my patients are non-smokers,” Dr Tho said.
Dr Tho, who has more than 30 years of experience in medicine said, although the causes are unknown, he said that it could be linked to lifestyle.
“Honestly, we are very disappointed to see so many cases of lung cancer being detected late, at stages three and four, in which the results are quite unfavourable.”
“And in Malaysia, almost 95 percent of lung cancer cases are now at stages three and four,” said Dr Anand, describing how LCNM was formed.
“We need to try to raise awareness about this disease and try to treat it earlier. (So far) nothing has really been done to (reduce the cases of) lung cancer in Malaysia,” he added.
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