Almost 60 % of cancer cases in the country were detected at Stage III and IV due to lack of public awareness on the importance of early diagnosis and screening, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.
He said the increase in the death toll due to cancer in the country was also caused by the failure of patients to seek early treatment, besides the fact that there were patients with strong tendency to seek alternative treatment after diagnosis and would only return to hospital when the cancer was at already at advanced stage.
By doing so, the patients are actually reducing their chances to be cured, he said.
"Besides, there are some people who think that cancer is a death sentence and that makes them afraid to even undergo cancer screening and they keep thinking that they are better off not knowing," he said in a statement in conjunction with the World Cancer Day 2018 recently.
The minister said cancer was the fourth leading cause of death in Malaysia and contributed to 12.6 % of deaths reported at all government hospitals nationwide in 2016.