KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 — Chinese Malaysians, especially women, are more prone to getting diagnosed with most leading cancers when compared to Malays and Indians, a new survey found.
According to the Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report (MNCRR) 2012-2016, the incidence of breast, colorectal, cervical, and lung cancers were more common among Chinese women, while ovarian, lymphoma, leukaemia and thyroid cancers were more common in Malay women.
The highest age-standardised incidence rates (ASR) for cancer among Chinese women was breast (40.7 women per 100,000 population), same with Indian women (38.1) and Malay women (31.5).
Among Malay females, the most common cancers were breast, colorectal, ovarian, lung, and cervical. For Chinese females, it was breast, colorectal, lung, cervical, and ovarian cancers, and for Indian females, it was breast, colorectal, cervical, corpus uteri, and ovarian cancers.
The least common cancer among Malaysian women, on the other hand, were thyroid for the Chinese (ASR 2), and other skin cancers for the Malays and Indians (1.7).
Malaysian women are diagnosed with cancer at higher rates than men, with ASR of 102 compared to men’s 86, in the 2012-2016 period.
Meanwhile, the incidence rates of colorectal, lung, prostate, nasopharynx and liver cancers were more common in Chinese males. Lymphoma, leukaemia and bladder cancers, on the other hand, were more common in Malay men.
A total of 19.6 per 100,000 Chinese men had colorectal cancer, the highest incidence rate for any cancer among the three main ethnicities. This was the cancer that saw the highest ASR for Indian men as well (11), while for Malay men, the most common cancers were trachea, bronchus and lung (12.5), and colorectal (12.2).
Among Malay males, the most common cancers were lung, colorectal, lymphoma, prostate, lymphoma, and liver. For Chinese males, it was colorectal, lung, prostate, nasopharynx, and liver cancers, and for Indian males, it was colorectal, prostate, lung, lymphoma, liver, and stomach cancer.
The most uncommon cancers for Malaysian men, regardless of ethnicity, were bladder for the Chinese (ASR 3), nasopharynx for the Indians (0.6), and stomach for the Malays (1.6).
By ethnicity, the Chinese had the highest cancer incidence in both females (ASR 117.3) and males (106.1). The overall incidence rates among Chinese and Indians reduced slightly, whereas the overall incidence rates among Malays for both sexes were observed to have increased compared to the previous MNCRR 2007-2011 report.
Both MNCRR reports aimed at identifying incident trends and cancer risks in Malaysia for a 10-year period from 2007 to 2016.
The MNCRR 2012-2016 report, which was published last Friday by the Malaysian National Cancer Registry, did not reveal why certain races are more prone to getting certain cancers.
The MNCRR 2007-2011 report had reported an ASR of 89.6 for females and 80.5 for males from “other races”, which includes indigenous people, the natives of Sarawak, and Sabah. The latest MNCRR report, however, did not include this category.
Meanwhile, internationally, Malaysia’s cancer cases by ethnicity ranked relatively low, based off the highest and lowest reported cancer incidence in Brazil, and India, which ranged from ASR 51 to 617, and 50 to 503 for men and females, respectively.
Editor’s note: CodeBlue erroneously reported the wrong common cancers among Malay and Indian women and men, as well as ASR for cancer in Brazil and India. The mistakes have since been corrected.