NOVARTIS Malaysia-initiated workshop, “Staying Hopeful, Staying Strong: Surviving Advanced Breast Cancer,” in conjunction with breast cancer awareness month, was designed to empower patients and caregivers.
According to Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report 2012-2016, more than 60 per cent of diagnosed breast cancer cases in Malaysia are already in the advanced stages.
Patients may feel pessimistic after receiving a diagnosis in the later stages, as it is typically considered that the chances of survival are slim. This is no longer the case, thanks to recent innovations.
Mohamed Elwakil, General Manager Malaysia & Brunei, Novartis Oncology stated that Novartis Malaysia was committed to supporting the breast cancer community on their journey.
“We want patients to know that hope is not lost and there are treatments available that have shown positive results.”
With the identification of breast cancer subtypes, treatment options have expanded across our healthcare systems compared to four decades ago where patients only had the treatment option of radiation, chemotherapy, or mastectomies.
Thus, the treatment responses and survival are coupled with less side effects and maintains good quality of life among patients.
Dr Vaishnavi Jeyasingam, Consultant Oncologist from Kuala Lumpur Hospital, shared that in the last decade,
the major advancements in the field of breast cancer classification clearly proved that not all breast cancers behave the same way.
“Breast cancers are classified generally into hormone positive, HER2-positive and triple negative cancers.”
By classifying a patient’s background, medical problems, social and logistic needs, a good treatment and patient selection would improve long term outcomes and survival
Dr Azura Rozila Ahmad, Consultant Oncologist from Beacon Hospital in Petaling Jaya, added advancements in oncology have enabled defining breast cancer at the molecular or even gene expression level.
As the future seems promising, Dr Azura expects more effective medications being accessible, which will hopefully improve the outlook for ABC patients.
“With the availability of various therapies, selection of treatments can be customised and personalised according to the patient’s unique profile.” – The Health