One in five in Brunei suffering from cancer

|     Aziz Idris     |

A TOTAL of 625 people in Brunei Darussalam were diagnosed with cancer last year, resulting in 353 deaths. One in five individuals (20 per cent) in the country is affected by the disease.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar highlighted this in a message delivered in conjunction with celebrations for World Cancer Day 2019.

According to statistics obtained in 2018 from the National Cancer Registry, the risk of contracting cancer for males is 27 per cent, or one in four.

The most common types of cancer afflicting men are colorectal (63 cases), trachea, bronchus and lungs (39 cases), and prostate (30 cases).

For females, this risk is 29 per cent or one in three. Common cancers among women are breast cancer (80 cases), colorectal cancer (35 cases) and cervical cancer (32 cases).

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar in an interview. – RAHWANI ZAHARI

The theme for World Cancer Day 2019 is ‘I Am and I Will’, an empowering call to action, asking individuals to make a personal commitment to help reduce the impact of cancer no matter their background, age, or where they live or work, and take action to reduce their risk of developing cancer.

Such actions include avoiding risk factors and taking preventive measures, including quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to second-hand smoke; maintaining a healthy weight from childhood and throughout life; ensuring an intake of two – three portions of fruit and two – three portions of vegetables daily; reducing intake of high-fat meals; and being physically active for at least 30 minutes, five times or more in a week.

The minister noted that in Brunei, there is a probability that one in four people will be affected by cancer in their lifetime.

“With this, let us be more responsible in maintaining personal health. A healthy lifestyle choice depends on us with the help of a healthy physical and socio-cultural environment,” he said.

“We should be wise in making food choices by serving healthy foods at home or outdoors, and be wise with our sugar, salt and oil intake. In addition, we must be determined to be active by integrating physical activities into our daily schedules be they indoor or outdoor activities, including at work.”

The minister pointed out that early detection saves lives and emphasised that cancer patients “can take control of their cancer journeys, be cancer survivors, and return to work”.

“(Cancer sufferers) can ask for support from others and other cancer survivors,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham added.

He praised Brunei Council on Social Welfare (MKM) for organising in collaboration with the Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre the Charity Walk, Run and Cycle event to mark World Cancer Day, held during Bandarku Ceria.

“This collaborative effort is highly (commendable) and needs to be continued to help not only the people of Brunei Darussalam, but also in assisting our country achieve its health targets and realise Vision 2035, which (has the aspiration of improving) the quality of life of the people in line with the Ministry of Health’s ‘Work Together Towards a Healthy Nation’ vision,” the minister said.