KUALA LUMPUR: Former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz has emphasised the importance of integrating breast cancer survivors back into society.
Rafidah said women who have gone through mastectomies face emotional challenges that drive them away from society.
A mastectomy is the removal of the entire breast through surgery in the treatment of breast cancer.
“If a woman has breast cancer and undergoes a mastectomy, it is difficult for them emotionally.
“A woman who loses her breasts will feel very frustrated and sad. They do not want to come out in public,” she said at a breast cancer awareness event here.
Rafidah said dealing with cancer does not end after screening and getting the relevant treatment.
“Cancer treatment is an all-around thing. It starts with screening and treatment, and finally integrating them back into the society.”
She said the community is also a crucial player in helping cancer survivors back into society.
“That’s where we come in, with our follow-up with cancer survivors.
“And that’s how the pink ribbon community came about. It is about cancer survivors getting together and doing things to motivate themselves and others to show that there is life after cancer.”
In June, the health ministry said it was looking to expand cancer treatment centres nationwide to ensure equitable access to high-quality cancer treatment and palliative care for patients.
Health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa was reported to have said that most cancer treatment centres are currently located in major cities, and mainly in the Klang Valley.