Cancer aware­ness drive to ed­u­cate masses

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Front Page - MYINT KAY THI news­room@mm­times.com

As cancer cases rise in the coun­try, health of­fi­cials are launch­ing aware­ness pro­grammes to ed­u­cate the pub­lic about the dis­ease and how to pre­vent its oc­cur­rence.

CANCER ex­perts will launch an aware­ness pro­gram in com­mu­ni­ties through­out the coun­try to raise alert­ness about the de­bil­i­tat­ing non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases amid ris­ing num­ber of cases

Ac­cord­ing to on­col­o­gist Dr Khin Cho Win, head of Ra­di­a­tion at the Ra­dio­ther­apy Depart­ment of Yan­gon Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal (YGH), the pro­gram will be im­ple­mented this year to ed­u­cate peo­ple about cancer dis­eases and how to pre­vent their oc­cur­rence.

In Myan­mar, about 59 per­cent of to­tal deaths are due to non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease, 11pc are due to can­cers, ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO) 2014 data.

Based on the records of the Ra­dio­ther­apy Depart­ment of YGH, breast cancer is the most preva­lent cancer dis­ease in 2015 with more than 1300 pa­tients; fol­lowed by lung cancer with nearly 1000 pa­tients; and cer­vi­cal cancer with about 1000 pa­tients.

Cancer could be due to ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion, un­healthy life­style and diet, poor phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties, to­bacco usage and smok­ing, hor­mone changes, and side ef­fect of an­tibi­otic due to chronic dis­ease.

“To re­duce cancer rate, peo­ple should take care of their daily diet, do phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, avoid fast-food, and do not smoke,” said Dr Khin Cho Win.

Dr Khin Cho Win said breast cancer, cer­vi­cal cancer, ovar­ian cancer, colon cancer are com­monly found among women; while lung, oral and colon can­cers are com­monly found in men.

She said that breast and colon can­cers are the two dead­li­est non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases that af­flict women in Myan­mar.

Data from the Ra­dio­ther­apy Depart­ment of YGH has shown a steady in­crease in the num­ber of women af­flicted with breast cancer since 2011, which recorded over 900 fe­male pa­tients. By 2015, the num­ber of women af­flicted with the dis­ease had risen to nearly 1400, while six male pa­tients were di­ag­nosed with the dis­ease.

“The num­ber is in­creas­ing due to peo­ple’s knowl­edge im­prove­ment and also life style change,” Dr Khin Cho Win said.

Nowa­days, women in ur­ban ar­eas like to eat fast food, which are not healthy.

“As the num­ber of cancer pa­tients is in­creas­ing, we should go to the com­mu­nity level to ed­u­cate them about cancer symp­toms” she added. “We are try­ing to spread cancer aware­ness about breast, cer­vi­cal and oral can­cers in the com­mu­nity.”

Dr Khin Cho Win said that early di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment of cancer can ef­fec­tively con­trol the dis­ease.

A 43-year-old woman from Aye­yarwady Re­gion who came to YGH for treat­ment about the chronic pain on her breast said, “Now I am re­ceiv­ing chemo­ther­apy for breast cancer. I started to no­tice swelling of the gland in my right breast. At first, I ig­nore it. Then, I felt pain and when I went to the doc­tor it was di­ag­nosed as cancer.”

Ac­cord­ing to the WHO 2015 sta­tis­tics, 38 mil­lion peo­ple died from non­com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases in one year and about 18 mil­lion peo­ple are from de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

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