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Brunei
Thursday, December 8, 2022
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Brunei
Thursday, December 8, 2022
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    One in four males at risk of cancer

    James Kon

    Brunei recorded 987 new cancer cases in 2020, of which 448 were males (45 per cent).

    One in four males in Brunei are at risk of encountering cancer during their life time. Cancer cases are projected to rise by 108 per cent from 2020 to 2040 compared to the rise of 22.8 per cent from 2010 to 2019, The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC) Director Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr Babu Sukumaran said.

    Speaking at the launch of the ‘Movember 2022 Campaign’ at Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre (PJSC) yesterday, he also highlighted the main causes for the rise. Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr Babu Sukumaran, the Chairperson of the Movember 2022 Campaign said the steep projected rise can be attributed to the increase in population growth, increased life expectancy, ageing population, change in lifestyle (obesity, smoking, alcohol and western diet) and better screening with diagnostic intervention.

    “More alarming is the projected increase in cancer-related deaths to 160 per cent from 2020 (434 cases) to 2040 (1,123 cases). Males account for 54 per cent (236 out of 434) of all cancer deaths in 2020.”

    Common cancers affecting males in Brunei are colorectal, lung, prostate, liver and stomach. Other male-specific cancers are testicular and penile cancers.

    The Brunei Cancer Centre Director Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr Babu Sukumaran. PHOTO: JAMES KON

    Meanwhile, male breast cancer is uncommon. Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr Babu Sukumaran said one in 27 Bruneian males are at risk of developing prostate cancer while it accounts for one per cent of total deaths.

    Prostate cancer accounted 40 out 448 (8.9 per cent) new male cancer diagnosed in 2021. It is the third most common male cancer after colorectal cancer (20.3 per cent) and lung cancer (15.2 per cent).

    He said TBCC of PJSC had seen more than 300 odd cases of prostate cancer in the Outpatients Department (OPD) from January to October 2021.

    Outlining who is at risk of prostate cancer, Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr Babu Sukumaran said those falling into the category are men aged above 50, those with family history like a father or brother suffering from prostate cancer, Germline Mutation-BRCA2 mutation and modifiable risk factors such as obesity, smoking and diet.

    On testicular cancer, he explained, “It is the abnormal growth of cells in the testis that causes testicular cancer. The typical symptom is a painless lump or swelling in one of the testicles or any change in shape, texture and appearance of the testicles.

    “Dull aching pain or sharp pain and associated dragging sensation in the scrotum need to be examined by doctors for further investigation.”

    Dato Seri Laila Jasa Dr Babu Sukumaran added, “It is the most common male cancer in the age group of 15-40 years although older males also get different variants of testicular cancer.

    “Testicular cancer accounts for 1.4 per cent of all male cancers. TBCC has seen eight cases in 2020.”

    Other cancers including colorectal cancer and lung cancer are two other common cancers highly associated with modifiable risk factors such as smoking and obesity.

    “With newer diagnostics and treatment modalities, the death rate has shown a decline.

    Although male breast cancer is uncommon compared to females, it usually presents with advanced stage.”

    Stressing on the importance of prevention, he said, “Smoking (30-40 per cent) and obesity (40 per cent) are the two most important attributable risks for most of cancers.

    “One in five are active smokers in Brunei with men comprising 36 per cent. The reduction in these two risk factors could help prevent it. Nearly 14 per cent of Brunei’s population are obese. A healthy diet and active lifestyles are crucial. Accessibility of HPV vaccination for high risk group, education about safe sex practices, proper hygiene care and being aware of signs and symptoms of common male cancer are important.”

    Speaking on Movember, he expressed, “Let’s grow a moustache to raise awareness about men’s health and pledge to stand for all our men and support them in their fight against male cancers.” 

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