For Immediate Release
WE ARE PINK FIGHTERS - Fight with HER. Survive with HER. Move forward with HER. Roche Malaysia is committed to spread the word about breast cancer awareness
(L-R): Wong Sit Yin, Healthcare Access and Corporate Affairs Director, Roche (M) Sdn Bhd; Janet Khor, Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA) President and Dr. Michelle Mah, Director of Business Development & Corporate Communications of Sunway Medical Centre
Petaling Jaya, October 18, 2018 – PINK October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and in conjunction with this, Roche (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Malaysia, kick-started the ‘We are Pink Fighters – Fight with HER. Survive with HER. Move forward with HER’ initiative to promote breast health awareness and early detection of breast cancer by educating women on the importance of self-examination. Roche Malaysia collaborated with Sunway Medical Centre and Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA) Malaysia to provide free breast screening, blood pressure and glucose testing at Sunway Pinnacle on October 18 and 19.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women1. In 2018, about 2 million new cases are diagnosed worldwide, and over 600,000 women will die of the disease1. This means that one woman is diagnosed with breast cancer somewhere in the world every 15 seconds and more than six women die of breast cancer every five minutes worldwide. According to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry (MNCR) Report 2011, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Malaysia today2. The most frequent cancer in Malaysia was breast cancer (17.7%) followed by colorectal (13.2%) and lung cancer (10.2%)2. Breast cancer is the most common form of malignancy affecting women and the disease burden of breast cancer affects 31.1% of all women living with cancer in Malaysia2. According to the MNCR report 2011, the percentage of breast cancer diagnosed at stage I and II was 57%2. At this stage the disease is usually operable and can be treated with curative intent. However, about 25%-45% of patients experience relapse and those with metastatic or unresectable disease are generally incurable3.
Lance Duan, General Manager of Roche Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. said, “The theme and tagline was developed internally, by our very own Roche staff and this is in line with Roche’s commitment to be with Malaysian women, every step of the way.” Separately, he also added, “Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a good time to remind the women in our lives to get screened. Everyone in a woman’s life plays an important role in fighting breast cancer. Overcoming cancer is one of life’s many challenges – not a death sentence. Breast cancer is curable and we need to send out a hopeful message that women can resume their lives, and even do more after treatment.”
Ranjit Kaur, BCWA President, said the collaboration demonstrates the common goal shared by the community - from patients, carers, corporates and public. “When we save a mother, we save her children as a mother is the pillar of the family. She needs to live longer to nurture her children to be responsible citizens of the nation,” she said. She added that a mother’s love can never be replaced hence the need for women to be vigilant about their health, particularly breast health. “Regular screening enables every woman to detect any breast abnormality early and seek timely medical treatment. Getting diagnosed at an early stage, enables the woman to have a better chance of saving her life, her breast and reduce suffering and cost,” she stated. Ranjit called on every woman to take the responsibility to be vigilant about her breast health. BCWA, she said offers Being Breast Aware Campaigns and clinical breast examinations for women continuously.
Dr. Michelle Mah, Director of Business Development & Corporate Communications of Sunway Medical Centre applauded the initiative, mentioning, “It is indeed an honour for us to be collaborating with Roche Malaysia for a noble cause that can potentially save thousands of precious lives. Women should take advantage of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month to start adopting preventive methods like breast examination and breast screening. In addition to our regular outreach to various communities such as this initiative, Sunway Medical Centre is committed to advocating and providing high-quality healthcare services with the right expertise and technology advancements. It is our aim to help more women continue their life journey healthily and cancer-free.
“Studies have also shown that survival from breast cancer has improved in the past 3 decades. In Malaysia, the largest population based study of 10,000 breast cancer patients diagnosed between January 2000 and Dec 2005 identified from the Health Informatics Centre, Ministry of Health Malaysia, the National Cancer Registry and the National Mortality Registry found that the 5-year overall survival rate was 49%4. Despite the relatively high 5-year survival rate compared to other malignant tumors, metastatic disease has long been the principal cause of mortality among breast cancer patients. However, most of the patients still have poor prognosis after metastasis5.” added Lance Duan.
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Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche among the leaders in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.
Roche is one of the world’s largest biotech companies, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also one of the world leaders in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.
Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. Twenty-nine medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Roche has been recognised as the Group Leader in sustainability within the Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Industry eight years in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).
The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2016 employed more than 94,000 people worldwide. In 2016, Roche invested CHF 9.9 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 50.6 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.
Roche has been present in Malaysia since the 1950s, when the sales and distribution of products was managed by a third party distributor. Since then, Roche has established its operations to include Roche (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., the pharmaceutical business, Roche Diagnostics (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. and Roche Services (Asia Pacific) Sdn. Bhd., the shared service centre. With a total staff strength of over 550, Roche has grown into one of the leading healthcare companies in Malaysia that provides holistic healthcare solutions to healthcare practitioners and patients. For more information, please visit www.roche.com.my.
About Roche Patient Assistance Program and the Roche Assist team
Roche Patient Assistance Program is part of Roche’s commitment to help eligible patients access the Roche medicines they are prescribed to. The Roche Assist team is dedicated to provide value added support and services under this program. The Roche Patient Assistance Program is for patients whose medical expenses are not fully covered by insurance, corporate benefit or any other funding from third parties as advised and justified by physicians. Since 2007 to date, more than 5,000 Malaysian patients have benefitted from this on-going initiative.
Roche’s Focus on Breast Cancer
Our goal is to be at the forefront of finding cures for cancer. For more than 50 years, we have developed innovative medicines and diagnostics that help prevent, detect, diagnose, treat and monitor cancer. We strive to transform the lives of people with cancer, as well as those who support them.
In the arena of breast cancer, at Roche, we have been working for decades to push the boundaries of science; growing our understanding of breast cancer’s biology in search of new ways of tackling the disease. Our unwavering goal is to improve the lives of patients and to develop new treatments that increase the chance of cure.
Driven by this goal, Roche teams around the world are working with patient groups and governments to help make sure that more women are diagnosed at an early stage of their disease, where breast cancer may be potentially curable.
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1 GLOBOCAN 2018: Breast Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide https://gco.iarc.fr/ Accessed September 24, 2018.
2 Health D. The Malaysian National Cancer Registry Report (MNCR) 2007-2011 [Internet]. From the Desk of the Director General of Health Malaysia. 2018 [cited 1 March 2018]. Available from: https://kpkesihatan.com/2016/12/07/the-malaysian national-cancerregistry-report-mncr-2007-2011/
3 Guarneri V, Conte P. Metastatic Breast Cancer: Therapeutic Options According to Molecular Subtypes and Prior Adjuvant Therapy. The Oncologist. 2009;14(7):645-656. doi:10.1634/theoncologist.2009-0078.
4 Abdullah NA, Mahiyuddin WRW, Muhammad NA, et al. Survival Rate of Breast Cancer Patients In Malaysia: A Population-based Study. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2013;14(8):4591-4594. doi:10.7314/apjcp.2013.14.8.4591.
5 Chen M-T, Sun H-F, Zhao Y, et al. Comparison of patterns and prognosis among distant metastatic breast cancer patients by age groups: a SEER population-based analysis. Scientific Reports. 2017;7(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-017-10166-8