TBCC celebrates World Cancer Day
| Hakim Hayat |
Statistics from the Brunei National Cancer Centre (TBCC) showed that the number of patients diagnosed with cancer in the country is increasing year by year.
About 7,000 new referrals and follow-up cases are seen each year, with about 4,000 undergoing chemotherapy and about 1,000 patients are being treated at the Inpatient Care Ward annually.
In conjunction with World Cancer Day yesterday, the TBCC in Jerudong joined other countries worldwide in celebrating the annual event by holding an exhibition displaying common cancer information and distributed leaflets to patients and relatives to raise awareness on early cancer prevention, detection and treatment.
“This year, we aim to focus on fostering relationships with cancer patients and their relatives and journeying with them through their cancer treatment,” according to TBCC in a press release.
The national cancer statistics were shared by Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr Babu Sukumaran, Special Oncologist at the TBCC in an interview yesterday, where he also shared on common myths surrounding the disease that need to be addressed.
This year’s World Cancer Day campaign is focusing on ‘Target 5’ of the World Cancer Declaration: Dispel Damaging Myths and Misconceptions About Cancer, under the tagline “Cancer-did you know?”.
Dato Dr Babu said World Cancer Day is an opportunity to improve general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease.
“Quite often, cancer is only seen as a health issue but it actually has far reaching implications on the individual, family and society and undermines social and economic advances in a country. We need collective efforts from the individual, family, society and the government,” he said.
Another myth, he said often associates cancer as a disease of the wealthy, elderly and developed countries.
“Cancer does not discriminate, rich or poor, young or old, developing or developed countries – for instance lung, breast and cervical cancers. The fact is that it is a global epidemic and becoming an increasing public health problem in developing countries. It affects low, middle and high-income groups, but access to care varies. In Brunei, cancer treatment is available for all groups of people.”
A lot of people, Dato Dr Babu said, still have the common idea that cancer is a ‘death sentence’. In fact, he said many cancers are now being detected early due to early screening and awareness and are cured. “With advances in treatment available, many of the cancers can be treated, and treatment outcomes have improved. It is important to increase awareness of early treatment.”
He added that cancer, is not fate and many cancers are preventable. “Stopping smoking can prevent many cancers. Early screening like PAP smears, HPV vaccines, Hepatitis B vaccinations, mammograms and sigmoidoscopy screening in appropriate age groups can prevent or detect early cancers,” he said.
“Hence World Cancer Day is celebrated to increase individual, society and governmental awareness about cancer. One in every three cancers could be prevented!” he said.
TBCC, he said, was incorporated in May 2010 as a public-private partnership at Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC).
“Offering facilities such as Outpatient Services, Daycare Oncology Unit and Inpatient Care Ward, it serves as the national referral centre for treatment, cure and prevention of all cancers and aims to provide quality cancer services for treating cancer patients locally.”
With the new TBCC slated to be completed in 18 months time just adjacent to the current location, Dato Dr Babu said it will be a one stop centre that houses all facilities to treat patients locally and reduce referral of patients overseas to save costs and for the convenience of patients and families.
“It will provide day care chemotherapy units, inpatient wards, radiotherapy and brachytherapy facilities, nuclear imaging, PET-scanning, palliative care and multidisciplinary care,” he said.