SSM urges public to undergo regular health checks to fend off cancer

2024-02-05 03:16     BY Gabriel Tam    Comment:5

The Health Bureau (SSM) presented the latest outcome of its preventive measures against cancer in a statement yesterday, pointing out that it has been carrying out a series of cancer awareness promotional activities since the beginning of this month, in recognition of yesterday’s World Cancer Day. 

According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) official website, World Cancer Day is a global initiative led by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), aiming to raise awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection and treatment. It was launched in 2000 at the World Cancer Summit Against Cancer for the New Millennium, which was held in Paris. The triennial theme for World Cancer Day 2022-2024 is “Close the care gap: Everyone deserves access to cancer care”.  

According to the statement, cancer has been among the top ten causes of deaths in Macau since the beginning of the 21st century. It quoted its Macau Cancer Registry Annual Report as saying that a total of 2,571 cancer cases were recorded in 2021, including 929 deaths. The top five most common cancers are lung cancer, colorectal cancer (also known as colon or bowel cancer), breast cancer, prostate cancer, and thyroid cancer. 

The bureau said that screening programmes for various types of cancer have already been implemented in Macau. Using cervical cancer and colorectal cancer as examples, the bureau urged residents to perform regular health checks and take precautions by practising a healthy lifestyle, maintaining a balanced diet and doing more physical activity, in order to reduce the risk of getting cancer.

The statement said that the bureau has been providing HPV-DNA testing services for female residents aged 30 or above since 2019, adding that the average incidence of cervical cancer in the past five years has decreased by nearly 30 percent compared to 2011, while the mortality rate has dropped by 8 percent, indicating the effectiveness of the bureau’s preventive measures.

In addition, the statement said, over 23,000 people to date have benefited from the bureau’s colorectal cancer screening programme. Among them, a total of 2,462 people have undergone a subsidised colonoscopy, with 139 of them being diagnosed with colorectal cancer and subsequently referred for treatment and follow-up.

The bureau further noted in the statement that last year its Cancer Patient Resource Centre had recorded more than 5,500 people-times involving cancer patients and their families, among which the Nursing Consultation outpatient service received more than 1,600 people, mainly providing home care education and emotional support after radiotherapy or chemotherapy, while the Rehabilitation Nursing Consultation outpatient clinic received more than 2,800 people in its rehabilitation exercise classes.

Meanwhile, the statement said, as part of the ongoing efforts to celebrate World Cancer Day, the centre has been organising various workshops and lectures themed on cancer prevention for the public, adding that next month is the “Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month” and hence the centre will hold more educational activities to spread awareness of the disease. 

This undated photo provided by the Health Bureau (SSM) shows one of its World Cancer Day thematic workshop’s participants posing for a group photo.

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