KUALA LUMPUR, March 10 – The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) will be organising the Sepeda Amal Borneo event, a long-distance, seven-day (700km) bicycle ride from Kuching to Bintulu from July 15 to 22, 2023, to raise funds in support of Program ROSE (Removing Obstacles To Cervical ScrEening) and increase awareness on cervical cancer.
The cycling route covers more than 700km, and all cyclists participating will need to have a reasonable level of fitness. The average distance covered per day will be between 100 to 150km at a speed of between 25 to 30km per hour. The ride will be capped at a maximum number of 16 cyclists.
Designed specifically for Malaysian women, Program ROSE is an innovative cervical screening programme that integrates self-sampling, primary HPV testing, and digital health platforms using mobile technology, ensuring women who require follow-up are linked to care for treatment, if necessary.
This evidence-based approach can help save lives and spare women and their families from the suffering and financial hardship associated with cervical cancer.
“We hope to increase the awareness on the importance of self-screening for cervical cancer. MMA hopes corporate organisations and the public will give their support towards this initiative aimed to raise awareness on one of the most common cancers among women,” said MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai.
Funds raised from Sepeda Amal Borneo will go to the MMA Foundation and channelled to the ROSE Foundation for Program ROSE and its cervical cancer outreach community development drive.
In Malaysia, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women after breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by high-risk HPV (human papillomavirus) types and is the second most common cancer affecting women aged 15 to 44.
“Although pap smear screening is available at many health care centres, only 25 per cent of eligible women had taken the test from 2013 to 2017.We hope that through these efforts, more will be encouraged to take the important step of testing” says Dr Muruga Raj.
“It is always best to be up to date on your health status so that the best health outcomes can be achieved” he added.
Prof Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman, chairperson of ROSE Foundation, said: “Cervical cancer can be detected and prevented early with accurate HPV PCR self-sampling and appropriate follow-up as well as treatment.
“Regrettably, most women are not screened for cervical cancer regularly, with two-thirds (67 per cent) of cases being presented in the late stage. We want to change that, and our goal is to encourage more women to undergo this self-screening for HPV to allow for early detection of abnormalities and subsequently be linked to care.”
“Program ROSE’s quick, simple, painless and accurate HPV PCR self-sampling goes beyond just screening. By linking the underserved and underprivileged women population to treatment, it will boost the confidence and encourage more women to take the test,” she added,
“We would like to thank MMA for selecting ROSE Foundation as the recipient of this year’s Sepeda Amal Borneo 2023 fundraising cycling event. The support and contributions from generous individuals and organisations will enable Program ROSE to screen more women annually. Together, we can help make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of many women in Malaysia.”
Those who wish to contribute by participating as a cyclist or making a one-off donation can click on this link. Every little bit is a step towards eliminating cervical cancer in Malaysia.