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Brunei Darussalam Marks World Cancer Day with Call for Comprehensive Cancer Care

BRUNEI DARUSSALAM - On the occasion of World Cancer Day 2024, the Minister of Health, Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Awang Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar, highlighted the critical importance of action across all levels of the cancer care continuum, including early detection, treatment, and end-of-life care.

According to Radio Television Brunei, prioritizing screening is key in the fight against cancer, as it can detect the disease at an early stage, potentially saving lives and improving patient outcomes.

The Minister's message stressed the need for individuals to adopt proactive measures to reduce cancer risk, either through regular screening or by leading a healthy lifestyle. The Brunei Darussalam Cancer Registry (BDCR) reported an increase to 743 new cancer cases in 2022 from 682 in 2021, with 267 fatalities. Significant cases among men included colorectal, prostate, and lung cancers, while for women, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers were most prevalent.

In response to these challenges, the Ministry of Health introduced a Risk Assessment of Colorectal Cancer feature in the BruHealth app in July 2023, enabling users to assess their risk and, if eligible, to schedule screenings. Despite over 8,000 users completing the risk assessment questionnaire in six months, fewer than 10% of those recommended for screening have arranged appointments. The Ministry encourages the public to utilize this tool and attend screenings when advised.

Furthermore, the Minister urged the public to adopt preventive measures such as quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, practicing a balanced diet, and engaging in physical activities. World Cancer Day, observed annually on February 4th, serves as a global call to action to close the care gap in cancer treatment and prevention, aiming for a world where cancer no longer poses a major threat to public health.