Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin urged people to not hesitate to undergo screening for cancer, as earlier diagnosis will allow for prompt intervention to slow down the development of the disease or even prevent it.

"My message to the people is that they should not be afraid to perform cancer screening or checks, as (the fear) itself is a problem," Sadikin stated at Jakarta's Dharmais Cancer Hospital on Friday.

The minister remarked that no one wanted to be diagnosed with cancer or have to lead a life with the disease.

However, delayed screening due to hesitancy will cause the cancer, if diagnosed later, to spread, thereby reducing the probability of recovery and leading to higher costs being incurred, he explained.

"How to treat the cancer? The best and the only way for it is to detect it earlier," Sadikin emphasized.

If cancer is diagnosed earlier or before it reaches the terminal stage, he said that the probability of recovery will be higher, and treatment costs will be lower, he added.

"For mothers, do not hesitate to (perform) USG scanning to detect breast cancer because the earlier the diagnosis, the better," the minister stated.

Sadikin revealed that Indonesia had recorded more than 420 thousand cases of cancer at present, with more than 242 thousand deaths due to the disease alone.

Cancer is the second-most costly disease in Indonesia after cardiac diseases, he remarked.

To address the high number of cancer cases in Indonesia, the ministry has, since 2022, been seeking to equip 10 thousand public health centres (puskesmas) nationwide with USG machines to allow earlier detection of breast cancer among women.

The government also equips 514 hospitals in districts and cities nationwide with CT Scan and colonoscopy machines to help with the treatment of cervix and colon cancers.

"For doctors at puskesmas, do not hesitate to refer your patients to the hospital if they are diagnosed with cancer, as the hospitals have been readied," Sadikin remarked.

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Translator: Sean Muhamad, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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