Overview on the War-on-Cancer Malaysia initiative
Vision: To prevent, overcome and eliminate cancer
War-on-Cancer Malaysia is an initiative by the College of Physicians, Academy of Medicine Malaysia, aimed at consolidating and coordinating the partnership between health care professionals, policymakers, civil society, government and non-governmentt organizations, industry, experts, concerned individuals and the community, including identifying gaps and new areas of engagement thus providing a cohesive platform for all stakeholders to effect a real change in the fight against cancer.
War-on-Cancer: It’s time!
In 2012, an estimated 14 million new cases of cancer occurred worldwide and this number is expected to rise to about 24 million new cases of cancer annually by 2030; more than half of which could be avoided if we were able to modify our lifestyles and protect our environment. More alarmingly, a large proportion of this increase in incidence will occur in the developing world, in countries such as Malaysia. While significant progress has been made regarding our understanding of the biology of cancer, development of new modalities to detect, diagnose and treat cancer; there remains significant gaps in our knowledge about the disease and how the disease is managed in a social-clinical-public policy context. To many, the cancer incidence and mortality rates are numbers and do not reflect the significant burden cancer has on the individual patient and his/her family.
The War-on-Cancer initiative seeks not to replace or trivialise the amazing work and progress made by the various local organisations that work to understand cancer better through research, improve cancer management/prevention and support cancer patients and their family. Instead, the War-on-Cancer seeks to enhance the positive impact of these organisations through the power of synergistic collaboration and cement the gaps that are underserved. This will include ensuring the sustainability and enhancing of resources to support existing efforts as well as ensuring that patients not only have equal and easy access to the support but that the support and care given is the best possible.
This is our War-on-Cancer. A War that will be won by:
- Enhancing epidemiological-public health research to accurately capture and analyse the increasing disease burden and specific population attributable risks
- Increasing awareness and enculturation of cancer-preventative lifestyles;
- Accelerating the training of skilled clinical and allied healthcare specialists;
- Developing more effective and affordable cancer screening, diagnostic and therapeutic modalities;
- Improving the availability and accessibility of care and support to cancer patients and their family;
- Improving our understanding of cancer biology and the genetic- socioeconomic-environmental interactions;
- Facilitating patient decision-making process through consolidation of information and interconnectivity between resources;
- Influencing public policy that promotes the abovementioned goals by:
- Prioritising actions in education and health systems as well as the environment
- Strategising comprehensive preventive action
- Facilitating performance of the healthcare and support ecosystem
- Assessing cost-benefit of action
- Identifying and supporting high-risk populations
- Forecasting future needs
- Setting research priorities
The War-on-Cancer is an initiative by the College of Physicians of Malaysia, Academy of Medicine of Malaysia.
It provides a platform for individuals from the Ministry of Health Malaysia, Ministry of Education Malaysia, Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysian, National Cancer Institute, National Cancer Council Malaysia, Malaysia Oncological Society and the various institutions of higher learning in the country to collaborate and cooperate.
This initiative is guided by a Steering Committee that supports an Executive Committee to achieve the goal to reduce the incidence and mortality rates of cancer in Malaysia. Various taskforces will be created to ensure the goals of the War-on-Cancer will be achieved by answering the following questions:
- Why are cancers getting more prevalent? What are the causes?
- How can cancers be detected early?
- How can cancer care be further improved?
- How can the understanding cell biology be further enhanced?
- What can be done to increase training of healthcare workers in cancer care?
- What ways can finances be enhanced to meet the cost of care?
- How can the public be more educated regarding cancers?
- How can the prevalence of cancer be monitored?
- What local products can be used to treat/manage cancers?
- How can funding be sought to support War-on-Cancer initiatives: philanthropy, crowd-funding?
- What policies need be adopted to expedite War-on-Cancer?
Thus, apart from healthcare workers and scientists, the War-on-Cancer aims to involve a broad cross-section of the community – patients, their families, cancer survivors, administrators and managers, writers, IT specialists, mass-communication specialists, finance personnel, educators and even students and the general public.
This initiative will be launched at the Annual Malaysia-Singapore Congress of Medicine on 26-July-2018 where the whole Congress is themed on Cancers.