KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 — ‘Hope is Just Around the Corner’ — this is the message that MEDICOS aims to share with the women in Malaysia.
In the second year of its Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, MEDICOS is spreading hope to all breast cancer patients and caregivers, to consistently engage in dialogues and share their experiences with each other to ease the journey in battling this disease.
MEDICOS is partnering with University of Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) and the Candy Girls, a not-for-profit organisation formed by survivors of breast cancer to inform and support those affected by the disease physically, mentally, and socially.
Together with the Candy Girls, MEDICOS released a campaign video detailing the journey of breast cancer survivors, their hardships and overcoming their own fears of the disease.
“No one should fight this battle alone. Knowing that the most intimate part of your body is affected by cancer can stir up a plethora of emotions for women. We need to create a safe and open space for these women to open up about their struggles, without fear of judgement or shame,” said Prof Dr Nazirah Hasnan, director of UMMC.
“A support system is important, and the team at UMMC is always ready to lend an ear and help people affected by breast cancer in any way we can,” she added.
In conjunction with the campaign, MEDICOS, a family-owned pioneer in medical mask manufacturing in Malaysia, is introducing its special-edition pink ribbon masks designed by a talented Malaysian artist, Dr Caryn Koh, currently based in the United Kingdom.
Dr Koh is the winner of the 2020 Breast Cancer Face Fabric Mask Design, a competition organised by Cancer Research Malaysia. The pink ribbon masks can be purchased at Watsons, Caring Pharmacy, other independent pharmacies and retailers as well as major e-commerce platforms throughout the month.
A portion of the sales proceeds will go towards UMMC’s efforts in the fight against breast cancer.
“The pandemic has taught us resilience and the power of hope. This Breast Cancer Month, MEDICOS wants to play our part in reminding Malaysians to recognise the value of all women,” said William Wong, CEO of MEDICOS.
“Whether they are mothers, daughters, sisters or wives, these women have become a force of change in our lives, and it is time for us to do our part to support them in times of need. Join us in solidarity with our pink ribbon masks; let’s unmask the taboo and start conversations about breast cancer,” he added.
According to Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report (MNCRR) 2012-2016, breast cancer now affects 34 out of 100,000 women in Malaysia, an increase from just 31 women from 2007 to 2011.
Breast cancer has a disease burden affecting 31.1 per cent of all women living with cancer in Malaysia. But the first step in the battle against breast cancer is early detection.
“Early detection really saves lives. For example, if breast cancer is detected and treated at Stage One, one’s survival rate can be as high as 95%. Hence, it is important for us to be aware of our risks of breast cancer. I urge every women above 50 to go for a mammogram today,” said Dr See Mee-Hoong, head of the breast surgery unit at UMMC.
“To women fighting breast cancer: know that you are not alone. Talk to your friends and family, or other women diagnosed with breast cancer about what you are going through, seek for understanding and support which will be a key part of your journey. Most importantly, please don’t delay in seeking treatment. There are medical advancements today that bring much hope and improve your chances if you get treated early,” she added.
At the launch event, Dr See also announced the upcoming release of Pink Agent, the first book in Mandarin on breast cancer in Malaysia, which will be released on October 24.
The book is co-authored by breast cancer survivor Sia Sock Fong, dietitian Goh Yoke Lian and Dr Tan Hui Ting. Pink Agent aims to educate readers on the reality of this disease and advancements in breast cancer treatment.
In addition, UMMC is currently expanding and refurbishing its Breast Cancer Resource Centre (BCRC), to be open later this month. The centre, which was established in 2005, provides clinical service, training, education and research in breast cancer care for patients, survivors and caregivers.
Show the women in our lives that we care. If you know of someone who is affected by breast cancer, get support and direct them to available resources such as the Candy Girls Breast Cancer Support Group, Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia, the National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN), and other similar organisations.