Breast cancer cases rising in Brunei

Wani Roslan

Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) launched its Breast Cancer Awareness Month campaign at PJSC Lobby on Level 2 yesterday.

Minister of Health and Deputy Chairman of PJSC Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar was the guest of honour.

Executive Director of PJSC Dr Haji Mazrul Adimin bin Haji Besar said breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in Brunei Darussalam with 120-145 new cases recorded every year.

“Of these numbers, about 60 per cent are patients with advanced stage cancer. Breast cancer like many others can be cured when detected in early stage but most people are not aware or are afraid to take the steps to detect the disease in early stages,” he said.

“In 2019, the Ministry of Health (MoH) implemented national screening programmes that included colorectal and breast cancers. For breast cancer, this involves mammogram for women aged between 40-69. In line with this, our Early Detection and Cancer Prevention Department is working closely with MoH to identify and encourage those who are eligible to undergo the screening,” he added.

In 2019, more than 100 new breast cancer cases were detected in Brunei and the numbers are rising with a large percentage of patients diagnosed at Stage 3 and Stage 4 of the cancer.

Minister of Health and Deputy Chairman of Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar with PJSC’s Goodwill Ambassador and Messenger of Cancer Awareness Wu Chun at PJSC. PHOTO: MUIZ MATDANI

PJSC through the efforts of the Early Detection and Cancer Prevention Services (EDCPS) under the arm of its specialist centre, The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) hopes to be able to detect the cancer at Stage 0 or Stage 1 as these stages have nearly 100 per cent survival rate.

With better public awareness, PJSC hopes to further encourage the wider community to spread the word and actively support this initiative to help people understand the importance of talking about cancer and their anxieties, educate how one can access medical help and not be misled by alternative treatments or promised ‘cures’ by misleading sources. It also helps people to overcome the fear of the cancer diagnosis and start early treatment.

During the event, PJSC announced Wu Chun as its Goodwill Ambassador and Messenger of Cancer Awareness. With his strong interest and active contribution of raising cancer awareness, he was recognised as a compelling and eloquent advocate to focus on cancer awareness and its related issues.

With the prestige, talent and presence that Wu Chun brings to this subject, it will help PJSC disseminate a message that would reach the hearts and minds of people in Brunei and abroad.

Also during the launch was a plenary session titled, ‘Redefining Breast Cancer Care for Brunei- Living up to World Standards’ delivered by Dr Ravi Patnaik.

Throughout the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an interactive and knowledge gaining programme called EDCPS Conversation will be held every Friday. EDCPS Conversation has discussions and activities relating to breast cancer for patients, their family members and it is also open for public participation.

The public is welcome to join the programme and visit the booths of participating non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and vendors every Friday and view the artworks of participating artists.

The EDCPS Conversation programme will be held at the Early Detection and Cancer Prevention Centre Services, Level 2 of PJSC. For more information, follow its social
media account.

October is the Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is commonly known as Pink October.