Free prostate cancer screenings offered at disease awareness event
A local hospital is offering free screenings for prostate cancer to current and former patients as part of an awareness campaign for the disease.
Through July to September, Sunway Medical Centre (SunMed) and Sunway Medical Centre Velocity are offering the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and consultation for patients with suspected or confirmed prostate conditions, according to a press statement.
The campaign aims “to encourage men to step forward, recognize the early signs and symptoms, overcome common stigmas associated with the disease, take immediate steps to screen for prostate cancer and seek treatment accordingly to improve their quality of life,” said SunMed representatives.
According to the WHO, prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men globally. In 2018, it accounted for 8.8 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers in Malaysian men, making it the third most common in the country after lung cancer (16.6 percent) and colorectal cancers (16.2 percent). [https://gco.iarc.fr/today/data/factsheets/populations/458-malaysia-fact-sheets.pdf]
“The growth in prostate cancer is also observed at [our centre]. In 2019, it emerged, for the first time in many years, as one of the top five cancers recorded at the hospital,” said Dr Seow Vei Ken, medical director at SunMed.
Compared to other cancers, prostate cancer may have the second highest overall 5-year relative survival (RS) rate. The Malaysian Study on Cancer Survival (MySCan) found a 5-year RS of 73 percent in patients diagnosed with prostate cancer between 2007 and 2011, with those diagnosed with Stage I to III cancers holding an RS of above 90 percent. However, RS dropped to 43.2 percent in patients with Stage IV cancers in the same report. [http://nci.moh.gov.my/index.php/ms/list-penerbitan/35-laporan/522-myscan]
“Getting over the stigma [of prostate cancer] is one of the first steps. Many men do not step forward out of fear of being judged. Consequently, the lack of early disclosure could prove detrimental,” said Dr Badrulhisham Bahadzor, consultant urologist at SunMed. “That is why we believe the combination of the free test, consultation with urologists, and complimentary webinars in [our] prostate cancer awareness campaign will make it easier for men to take that initial step.”
“With movement restrictions potentially easing in the months ahead, we invite those diagnosed, undergoing treatment as well as suspected with prostate conditions to come to SunMed for the free PSA test and consultation,” he added.
From June up till mid-July, teams from the hospital’s SunMed@Home programme were also dispatched to homes of prostate cancer survivors to collect blood samples for PSA testing. The free home service was offered to existing SunMed patients, including members of the Prostate Cancer Society Malaysia (PCSM).
“PSA tests are an important tool in detecting and monitoring the recurrence of prostate cancer,” said Wong Kuan Sing, PCSM acting president.
Wong, who was himself diagnosed 9 years ago with prostate cancer through a PSA screening, added that the free testing initiative was “timely, useful and crucial” given the current Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) in place nationwide.
As part of safety measures in place during the RMCO, the PCSM’s recent quarterly support group meeting was conducted virtually with the support of SunMed, with participants given the option to disable their video feeds for privacy.