Early Detection
Early detection of cancer improves the chances of a cure, but this is not without controversy.
For some cancers (particularly breast and prostate cancer), screening can lead to the diagnosis of slowly growing non-life threatening cancers, leading to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of patients.
Screening can also be expensive, and in most Asian countries, there is not enough money in the public purse to ensure everyone receives screening.
That’s why we are doing everything we can to focus on developing ways to improve screening at an affordable cost.

How we’ve made a difference

  1. Conducted research that showed 1 in 20 Malaysians develop breast cancer due to inheriting the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. This information played an important role in the development of specialised clinics to help families with inherited variants to manage their risk and prevent cancer. Empowered by the knowledge of their high risk to cancer, individuals can undergo preventative surgery or intensify screening for early detection. Find out more about our Asian Risk Calculator (ARiCa) here and find out more about genetic counselling here.
  2. Worked with the Ministry of Health and other partners to show that a mobile phone app is feasible in the early detection of oral cancer. Find out more about the MeMoSA here and here.

What we’re doing now

  1. Now that we have developed an accurate method for determining an Asian woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, we are collaborating with international experts at the University of Cambridge in carrying out implementation studies to determine how to roll out these tools to benefit Asians, particularly Malaysians who have difficulty accessing breast cancer screening. These tests could aid in spotting people at high risk from these cancers; in the future, they could be offered tailored screening or prevention advice.
  2. We are also working with Ministry of Health and community partners in developing effective methods to enabling greater awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, through our community patient navigation programme.
  3. We are working with the Ministry of Health to investigate whether our AI-enabled mobile phone app (MeMoSA) can aid in identifying people with suspicious growths in their mouths that could develop into oral cancer if they aren’t treated early. Our researchers are helping to tackle the barriers of screening, particularly in rural populations where people may not be aware of the signs and symptoms of cancer.
If you need more information about the signs and symptoms of cancer, please download our “Be Frank” booklet:
Be Frank Women Booklet
Be Frank Men Booklet