Setting up cancer treatment centre in Sarawak will ease medical costs, says Nurul Izzah

Nurul Izzah speaking to reporters at the Free Cervical Screening Programme.

by Nancy Nais

KUCHING, Jan 19: Removing Obstacles to Cervical Screening (ROSE) ambassador Nurul Izzah Anwar hopes that Sarawak will have its own comprehensive cancer treatment centre one day.

She believes that having a centre dedicated towards cancer treatment could provide better care for Sarawakian patients, as in the case of the Sarawak Heart Centre in Kota Samarahan.


“This is especially for fellow Sarawakians who are living in the rural areas and from the lower income group. Cancer treatment can be very costly and therefore, to travel to a West Malaysian cancer centre may not be viable for them,” Nurul Izzah said during the ‘Free Cervical Screening Programme with ROSE Foundation’ event here today.

Today’s programme aimed to screen about 200 women aged 30 to 49 from the B40 communities in Kuching area.

Funded by Etiqa and implemented in collaboration with ROSE, the programme offers an innovative solution to detecting pre-cancer causing HPV viruses in women.

Nurul Izzah, who is also Member of Parliament for Permatang Pauh said these women are given a personal kit which they can use themselves to privately and painlessly obtain a sample from their vagina.

“Instead of the conventional pap smear conducted by a healthcare professional involving a pelvic examination, ROSE offers women the choice of using a self-swab; a quick, convenient and effective approach to enable molecular tests to be undertaken followed by prompt delivery of results straight to their mobile phone. Women with the virus who have subsequently developed pre-cancer lesions can then be treated before it progresses into cervical cancer,” she explained.

A medical officer (right) briefs a group of women about the self-sampling kit for cervical cancer detection.
Nurul Izzah (standing second right) visited several health screening booths during the Free Cervical Screening Programme.

Nurul Izzah also lamented that lack of disease awareness and the constant struggle to earn a living often deter women from undergoing health screening.

Pap smears have also been a barrier to screening as many women find them embarrassing and uncomfortable.

Meanwhile, ROSE managing director Viji Nair said although cervical cancer is among the top three most common cancers for Malaysian women, it is also one of the most preventable and treatable cancers, provided the disease is detected and treated early.

Viji further explained that ROSE is the world’s first cervical screening programme featuring self-sampling by women themselves and its screening approach enables women to get tested for cervical cancer in the comfort of their own homes. — DayakDaily