Think tank pushes for better cancer data

The latest Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report shows that there is an increasing percentage of Malaysians being diagnosed late. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Think-tank Galen Centre for Health & Social Policy today lamented the latest Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report (MNCRR) which showed that an increasing percentage of Malaysians are being diagnosed late with cancer.

The ministry of health released the 2012-2016 MNCRR today, with one of its more notable findings including the rise in the percentage of cancer cases detected in Stage 3 and 4 from 58.7% in 2007-2011 to 63.7% in 2012 to 2016.

Malaysia also saw an increase in the total number of new cancer cases from 103,507 (2007-2011) to 115,238 (2012-2016).

“Despite significant efforts over the past two decades by both government and non-government organisations, more people continue to be diagnosed late with cancer,” said Galen Centre’s chief executive Azrul Mohd Khalib in a statement today.

“What this registry report tells us is that five years ago, the cancer control strategy was generally insufficient to meet the burden of ensuring early detection of the disease, provide timely diagnosis and successfully ensure good linkage with treatment,” he added.

Noting that while the situation might have improved since then, Azrul stressed that the country needs better and more current data.

Pushing for future registry reports to be released earlier to ensure that cancer strategies are guided by updated data, Azrul said the report gives the country an opportunity to review and evaluate the successes and failures from the implementation of its cancer policies.

“We need to be better at monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of cancer policies in order for the findings to be relevant and for timely interventions to be introduced,” said Azrul.

“We recommend that the ministry of health introduce a consultative process for the development of the next strategic plan that is bottom-up and involves not only healthcare providers but also patients and caregivers.”