PETALING JAYA: With statistics showing that 10% of Malaysians will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, one should be prepared to know what to do in the event of a diagnosis, and generally be aware of the disease and its various forms.
To that end, Sepeda Amal Borneo 2023 is an event organised by the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) to raise funds for the ROSE Foundation (Removing Obstacles to cervical ScrEening) as part of efforts to eliminate cervical cancer in Sarawak.
This is the most common type of cancer among women in Malaysia, with the Bornean state recording the highest incidence of diagnoses over the past five years.
Cervical cancer is also the second-most common cancer among women aged below 45, and over 75% of advanced-stage diagnoses are in patients younger than 65.
As such, the foundation, through its Program ROSE, aims to fight back by providing a community-centric cervical-screening initiative consisting of a simple self-swab test that is quick and painless.
All samples will be tested by the ROSE laboratory and results relayed via SMS or WhatsApp within three weeks. Those who receive positive results for the human papillomavirus (HPV) – a cause of cancer – will subsequently be referred to government hospitals for follow-up.
With many women in East Malaysia living in rural areas where healthcare facilities are spartan or nonexistent, this could be a potential life saver.
Since its inception in 2019, Program ROSE has screened more than 23,000 women for HPV, from which close to 200 women have been identified and treated for pre-cancer and early cancer.
Sepeda Amal Borneo 2023
In support of Program ROSE, 20 cyclists are embarking on a 700km journey from Kuching to Bintulu for six days from today until Friday (a quarter of the distance Frodo took from the Shire to Mordor, for context in pop-culture terms).
This is no ordinary team: the peloton is made up of cancer survivors, healthcare professionals, business leaders and cyclist enthusiasts alike, including one amputee.
Dr Timothy Cheng, an orthopaedic surgeon based in Sabah, is the founder of the MMA’s charity cycling project, which kicked off last year in support of the National Cancer Council (Makna).
“My hope is that this will be an annual event that not only raises funds for charity but also draws people to Sabah and Sarawak, especially the oft-forgotten interior regions,” he told FMT Lifestyle.
An avid athlete, the 35-year-old said he was inspired to kickstart this endeavour simply out of a desire to help cancer patients.
“It’s also a great way to reconnect with nature in the company of wonderfully warm people, and to enjoy delicious local traditional food,” he added.
“You haven’t seen Malaysia until you have ridden through Borneo.”
Alternatively, you may perform a bank transfer to MMA Foundation Donation-1, UOB account 240 305 7985. Please state ‘SAB2023 Donation’ in the transaction details.
All donations and financial sponsorship are tax-deductible.