WOU offered support as a silver sponsor for Relay for Life Penang 2018 and also participated in the customary walkabout in a show of solidarity and to raise awareness to the plight on cancer.
A team of 30, comprising staff and family members along with the students holding the University banner, braved the rain while a few held umbrellas as they walked the track at the Athletics Stadium, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), today.
The University has been a longtime, faithful supporter since 2007 of the Relay for Life which is organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) Penang branch and Penang Hospice Society. This year marks the 14th edition of the event.
The statistics on cancer paints a grim picture of the scourge but there was some light shed at the end of tunnel that cancer need not be a “death penalty” during the official opening of the Relay.
In his speech, NCSM Penang chairman Dato’ Seri Dr T Devaraj welcomed the survivors, a few of whom had come from as far away as Japan and Singapore. He reiterated that this annual event is to celebrate those who have survived cancer and to remember those who lost their lives to the disease.
In his call to the state government, he said he looked forward to better investigation of cancer cases and having access to better treatment for those afflicted. He stressed on early detection and early treatment in the battle against cancer.
Meanwhile USM Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Development Affairs & Alumni) Prof Dato’ Dr Adnan Hussein quoted WHO global statistics that there were 14.1 million new cases in 2012 and this is expected to rise to 24 million new cases in 2035, but highlighted that cancer is not a death penalty.
“The risk of getting cancer according to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry is 1 in 10 among males and slightly higher in females at 1 in 9,” he said, adding that the 5 most common cancers in females are breast, colorectal, cervix, ovary and lungs.
“Cancer is on the rise, leading to the fear that it is a death sentence,” he remarked, clarifying that one-third of cancers is curable if detected early and treated.
Prof Adnan stated that 30-50% of cases are currently preventable through measures like practising healthy living, not smoking, a balanced diet, limiting red meat and food intake, and exercising regularly.
The Relay was officially opened by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow who then proceeded to walk with the cancer survivors, before they were joined around the track by the corporate sponsors.