KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 – National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM) and Merck Sharp & Dohme (MSD) Malaysia have jointly launched a new educational website to meet lung cancer patients’ demands for credible information about the disease, innovative treatments, and ways to access them in Malaysia.
The website was developed as a joint collaboration between NCSM and MSD Malaysia, as part of the ‘I Can, We Will’ lung cancer educational campaign.
“Based on our conversations with lung cancer patients across the country, many of them don’t know where to begin looking for information related to the disease and treatment,” said Dr Murallitharan Munisamy, managing director, NCSM.
“There are lots of resources out there, but not all of them are credible or locally relevant, so the search can be overwhelming for patients. At NCSM, we believe that it is important to arm both patients and their caregivers with the resources and support they need to take on the battle against lung cancer confidently.”
“Hence, we partnered with MSD Malaysia to launch this new educational website to help patients fight for more tomorrows with the right treatment and access,” he added.
Designed with the needs of diagnosed lung cancer patients and their caregivers in mind, the website serves as a one-stop resource center about the disease to help make it easier for them to navigate their cancer journey.
Patients and caregivers who are feeling anxious and uncertain about the journey ahead can also visit the website for helpful tips on how to manage their mental health and emotional well-being, as well as tips on how to care for a loved one with lung cancer.
In addition, the website includes a guide to effective communication with their doctors, which can help improve the quality of the care they receive.
Renewed Hope In The Fight Against Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer in Malaysia with one of the highest mortality rates.
With 90 per cent of lung cancer cases diagnosed in the late stages, it has the lowest survival rate compared to other cancer types, with 5-year relative survivals of only 11 per cent and a median survival time of 6.8 months.
However, the emergence of innovative treatment options, such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy, has significantly improved some patients’ treatment outcomes.
A study has shown that immunotherapy — a type of treatment that works with the body’s natural immune system to enable it to identify and destroy cancer cells on its own — has the potential to reduce the risk of death significantly for certain groups of lung cancer patients.
“Advanced lung cancer patients might mistakenly view their diagnosis as a death sentence, when in reality, there is hope for them to fight on,” shared Dr. Murallitharan.
“With the right treatment, not only can patients’ life be prolonged, they can enjoy a good quality of life and continue spending more precious time with their loved ones. We hope that our website can help patients be aware of the various treatment options available, and empower them to make informed decisions.”
“Innovative treatments such as immunotherapy aren’t just beneficial to certain lung cancer patients’ individual health and well-being, they can also help reduce the national cancer burden, improve productivity, and create a more inclusive nation.”
However, these treatments are mainly offered in private hospitals, and more can be done to increase their accessibility. Malaysians who are interested in learning more can visit the website to find out how they can advocate for greater access to innovative treatments,” he added.
I Can, We Will Fight Lung Cancer Together
The collaboration between NCSM and MSD Malaysia started in 2019 with the launch of the “I Can, We Will” lung cancer educational campaign on social media.
The campaign aims to create disease and treatment awareness in Malaysia, as well as change the outcomes for patients with lung cancer through education and support.
Local personalities such as celebrity host Daphne Iking, singer Liza Hanim, and entrepreneur Wong Chui Ling have lent their voices to the campaign and shared their respective stories of how they lost their fathers to lung cancer, in hopes that no one will have to go through what they did. These stories are available on the new campaign website.
“We believe that there is power in the community, and we would like to encourage anyone who is going through a similar situation to share their own stories with us on www.icanwewill.com.my. Your story can help empower others, as patients with lung cancer could feel supported and inspired by the story of how you’re taking on the battle against the same disease, too,” said Dr Murallitharan.
“At MSD, we believe that it is important to do our part in encouraging the public to take control of their health in the fight against lung cancer by providing them with education and support,” said Pang Lai Li, managing director, MSD Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.
“Hence, we have embarked on this meaningful partnership with NCSM through the ‘I Can, We Will’ campaign. We are committed to working closely with not just partners such as NCSM, but also with the medical community and the government to continuously enhance patient education, increase the public’s accessibility to innovative cancer medicines, and ultimately improve the outcomes of lung cancer patients in Malaysia.”
“As a patient-focused organisation whose mission is to save and improve lives, we will continue to drive innovation in lung cancer treatment, so that we can deliver even greater, positive impact to more patients. We are working to give patients more ways to treat their cancer, more quality in their lives and more time,” she added.
Click here to find out more about the ‘I Can, We Will’ campaign.