Monday, August 11, 2008


Acquiring the much-sought-after honor of being the most handsome astronaut and Malaysia's first man in space, DATUK SHEIKH MUSZAPHAR SHUKOR is also a medical doctor to boot! This time around, he is on another mission - to help save the lives of fellow Malaysian women from the two deadliest cancers to strike the weaker sex, BREAST and CERVICAL CANCERS.

It is estimated that one in every 19 women in Malaysia is at risk of getting breast cancer which is, and still remains, the most common cancer among women worldwide. In the USA alone, a woman is diagnosed to suffer from it every 3 minutes! Unfortunately, not only women are afflicted, men are also known to suffer from it.

AVON Cosmetics Malaysia joins over 50 countries in the 4th AVON WALK AROUND THE WORLD FOR BREAST CANCER (WAWBC) on Sunday the 10th of this month to initiate a worldwide series of events that will mobilise thousands of committed people to help end this silent killer and to break barriers to access quality health care for the unfortunate victims. This is Malaysia's very first participation with a turnout of some 5,000 men and women wearing pink T-shirts and walked 3km to kick-start the event. Joined by Dr Sheikh Muszaphar and a host of local celebrities, the Walk netted a sum of RM50,000 which was donated to the PRIDE FOUNDATION, a charity body for the fight against breast cancer.

Launched by Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen, (Women,Family and Community Development Minister)plans are underway to spearhead mobile clinics in rural clinics with mammogram detection facilities to increase awareness of this much feared disease. Dr Ng encourages all women above the age of 40 to go for regular breast examinations as early detection and treatments can help save lives. On record, in the space of one year from May 2007 to June 2008, out of a total of 5217 women who underwent mammogram checks, 20 were diagnosed positive and 368 were categorised as high risks.

CARES - (CERVICAL CANCER AWARENESS ASSOCIATION) a non-profit organisation, sheds light on cervical cancer that plagues the female population. It is also the second most common cancer among our Malaysian sisters. Leading consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist and CARES medical advisor, Datuk Dr Nor Ashkin Mokhtar firmly states : "Every year, about half a million women have cervical cancer and about a quarter of million die, and it is sad to know that every two minutes a woman dies of cervical cancer." (This is based on worldwide observation). In Malaysia, an average of 2-3,000 women are diagnosed with it and about 500 die from it every year.

Just like breast cancer, with early detection and appropriate treatment, cervical cancer is preventable and curable. The only obstacle in the way is IGNORANCE. So it is to educate and create awareness that CARES and WAWBC are being activated, to remove the stigma of these two maladies and to help allay the fears that come with these forms of cancers.

Heart-throb Datuk Dr Sheikh Muszaphar, the spokesman for both these NGO, had done cancer research through the ANGKASAWAN program which sparked off his intense interest and commitment to support these efforts.

Recent seminars on these subjects were also held with informative knowledge for a woman to learn about her body and ways to keep it in optimum healthy condition.

It is hoped that with the support of these good people, Malaysian women will have greater access to medical advice and treatments with regard to both breast and cervical cancers. We need to constantly remind ourselves that, the first step towards preventing illnesses is to open ourselves up to help that is made available by people who care.

(POST SRCIPT: For husband-hunting females on the prowl, it's hands-off for Dr Sheikh Muszaphar. He is planning to get hitched next year to someone he has been dating for the past 5 years. So, like me, let's join in to wish them all the very best for the future and may they live happy and healthy for evermore!)


Log on to these websites on BREAST CANCER and CERVICAL CANCERS:

For the news articles on WAWBC and CARES:

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