RAISING AWARENESS ON COLORECTAL CANCER
The University of Malaya (UM) in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast and National Cancer Society Malaysia has organised the launching of ‘Be Cancer Alert Campaign’: Colorectal Cancer Awareness. The launching ceremony was held on 5 April 2018 at the UM Art Gallery.
The ceremony was officiated by the UM’s Deputy Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Professor Dr. Maznah Dahlui. Also present at the ceremony were Yakult Ambassadors, Mr. Jack Lim and Ms. Fara Fauzana.
The launching was one of the first mass media campaigns to raise awareness about colorectal cancer in Malaysia and based on previously successful campaigns run in the UK. The campaign hopes to encourage the public to take action against colorectal cancer and to improve awareness on colorectal cancer and early detection through screening. The campaign is expected to influence policy makers, NGOs and researchers who would run cancer awareness raising campaigns in the future.
The principal investigator of the campaign, Assoc. Professor Dr. Tin Tin Su from Faculty of Medicine, UM stated that, “We carried out a National Cancer Awareness Benchmarking survey in 2014 among nearly 2,000 Malaysians prior to the Be Cancer Alert campaign, and found that 50 per cent of respondents were unaware that changes in bowel habits are a symptom of colorectal cancer."
Dr. Saunthari Somasundaram, President and Medical Director of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, explained that around 65 per cent of colorectal cancer cases in the country were detected late (stage 3 or 4). “So everyone aged 50 and above should be undergoing the faecal occult blood test annually, as this test can identify early stage cancers and increases the chances of cure”, said Dr. Saunthari.
The Be Cancer Alert Campaign is a collaborative project between the UM, Queen’s University Belfast and the National Cancer Society Malaysia, funded by the Newton Ungku-Omar Fund and Academy of Sciences Malaysia.