Cancer awareness drive to educate masses
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.