Breast cancer screening in Malaysia: A policy review

Htay, Mila Nu Nu and Donnelly, Michael and Schliemann, Desiree and Loh, Siew Yim and Dahlui, Maznah and Somasundaram, Saunthari and Ibrahim Tamin, Nor Saleha and Su, Tin Tin (2021) Breast cancer screening in Malaysia: A policy review. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, 22 (6). pp. 1685-1693. ISSN 15137368, DOI

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Background: Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer among Malaysian women. The implementation of prevention measures including screening has the potential to reduce the burden of breast cancer which caused by late presentation. Aims: This paper aimed to review the public health policy relating to breast cancer screening in Malaysia that was undertaken in order to contribute to policy development regarding cancer prevention, detection and the improvement of services for Malaysian women. Methods: The policy review strategy included a specific search of the website of the Ministry of Health in Malaysia for relevant policies. In addition, we searched Google and Pubmed for breast cancer screening programmes, policies, and guidelines for women in Malaysia. In addition, experts and stakeholders provided additional resources, published in Malay language. Relevant guidelines in the Malay language were translated into English and included the document review. Results: The policy analysis indicated that although it is known that screening, early detection and diagnosis improve survival rates, delayed diagnosis remains a significant issue. The Ministry of Health policy stipulates the provision of opportunistic mammography screening. However, the uptake is varied, and implementation is challenging due to a lack of awareness about screening and difficulties related to accessing services, especially in rural areas. The establishment and implementation of referral guidelines is essential to receive timely treatment for breast cancer patients. There is a need to enhance the cancer reporting by the doctors to the national cancer registry, in collaboration with government services and the private cancer-care sector to improve the monitoring and evaluation of cancer control policies and programmes. Conclusion: A focus on raising awareness, increasing the accessibility of screening facilities and improving referral processes and the overall connectivity of the cancer care system are key steps to down-staging breast cancer in Malaysia. © 2021. All Rights Reserved.

Item Type: Article
Funders: Medical Research Council UK - Newton Fund [Grant No: MR/P013910/1], Medical Research Council UKRI GCRF [Grant No: MR/S014349/1], MRC-Newton Ungku Omar Fund
Uncontrolled Keywords: Breast cancer; Screening; Policy review; Breast cancer early diagnosis; Malaysia
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0254 Neoplasms. Tumors. Oncology (including Cancer)
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine > Rehabilitation Medicine Department
Faculty of Medicine > Social & Preventive Medicine
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2023 06:40
Last Modified: 05 Oct 2023 09:15

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