“We have tried to fulfill all the needs of access for early detection, so what we need now is public awareness to want to do early detection at the nearest health facility or primary health facility,” head of the ministry's Sub-Directorate of Cancer and Blood Disorders, Dr. Aldrin Neilwan Panca Putra, said here on Saturday.
He emphasized the importance of education in raising people's understanding about the need for early detection. Many cancers, if detected at an early stage, can be treated and cured more easily.
For example, while 70 percent of breast cancer patients are at an advanced stage when they come in for a medical examination, women who regularly undergo breast examinations can detect abnormalities earlier. Therefore, all women must examine their breasts to check for any abnormalities.
“Awareness and the role of the community are important for the success of cancer prevention in Indonesia,” Putra said.
Early detection is one of the strategies for cancer handling. The other strategies include health promotion through information dissemination to the community so that people develop a better understanding of cancers.
For example, liver cancer patients often go to the doctor when it is already too late because they think their symptoms are related to common or minor illnesses.
Given the number of patients who were late in seeking treatment, there was no significant increase in the life expectancy of liver cancer patients in 2013–2014 compared to 1998–1999.
The next strategy is to provide special protection, such as HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccinations, to prevent cervical cancer and provide standardized treatment to cancer patients.
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