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The Cancer Advocacy Society of Malaysia launches its 6th annual Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening and Treatment Project

3rd April 2016

Another 10,000 underprivileged Malaysians empowered to fight colorectal cancer.

EMPOWERED – The Cancer Advocacy Society of Malaysia launches its 6th annual Colorectal Cancer Awareness, Screening and Treatment Project (CCASTP) on April 3rd, 2016. Key objectives of this project are to raise awareness about colorectal cancer and to save lives through early detection, particularly in under-resourced communities. Colorectal cancer is the most common cancer amongst male and the second most common cancer amongst female in Malaysia.

EMPOWERED is privileged to receive support from the Ministry of Health, Malaysia, for its 2016 CCASTP. Y.B. Datuk Seri Dr. Hilmi bin Haji Yahaya, the Deputy Minister of Health officially launches the campaign in PPR Desa Tun Razak, Cheras, Kuala Lumpur on April 3rd, 2016. President, and Founder of EMPOWERED, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Dr. Christina Ng Van Tze recognises that the core issues in screening for colorectal cancer are low public awareness about the disease and its screening options in Malaysia, as well as the taboo of cancer in general with the Malaysian public, especially amongst those living in under-resourced communities. This was the key driver that led Dr. Ng to set up EMPOWERED in 2009.

Several studies have shown that low health literacy, education levels, and language barriers influence an individual’s ability to navigate the medical system, understand screening options and recommendations, and communicate with healthcare professionals. Due to these pertinent facts, the CCASTP was developed and continuously fine-tuned by EMPOWERED to ensure that an effective colorectal cancer screening and treatment program is channelled to its target under-resourced communities every year. Since the inception of this program six years ago, the CCASTP has reached nearly 75,000 under-privileged Malaysians. Uptake of the community residents into this mass scale program is between 80-90% each year. Every year, the program has successfully heightened community awareness about colorectal cancer, increased life expectancy and quality of life through early detection of pre-cancerous and cancerous colonic lesions.

This year, EMPOWERED, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, has set a significant target to reach out to 10,000 under-privileged Malaysians to introduce CCASTP. Y.B. Datuk Seri Dr. Hilmi bin Haji Yahaya, the Deputy Minister of Health said, “EMPOWERED’s colorectal cancer awareness, screening and treatment project is in line with the Health Ministry’s mission to address the needs of our community so that the people can fully attain their health potential, appreciate health as a valuable asset and take positive actions to further improve and sustain their health status.”

“Collaboration between EMPOWERED, the Ministry of Health and Corporate organisations is an example of how non-profit organizations, the public and private sectors can work together to progress the Government’s agenda towards a healthier Malaysia”, says Dr Ng. She further adds that it is the Society’s fervent mission and commitment to raise awareness on the importance of early detection of colorectal cancer through proper screening and treatment.

EMPOWERED’s key partner and major sponsor of 2014 & 2016 CCASTP, Yayasan Sime Darby, was represented at the event by its Governing Council Member YBhg Datin Paduka Zaitoon Dato’ Othman. She said, “I believe awareness on colorectal cancer is still low in the country especially amongst the low-income group. In 2014, Yayasan Sime Darby contributed RM135,000 for EMPOWERED’s CCASTP. It is my fervent hope to see more organisations come on-board and help existing NGOs to reach out and assist the less fortunate. For more people to benefit from this, we need more donors to step forward and pledge their support.”

Immediately following the official launch of EMPOWERED’s 2016 CCASTP, a customised colorectal cancer awareness workshop is executed by trained healthcare professionals, and medical student volunteers in local languages. During this workshop, EMPOWERED’s beneficiaries and colorectal cancer survivors bravely step up on stage to publicly share their testimonies and fight against the deadly disease. Their testimonies and efforts are a part of EMPOWERED’s holistic approach to alleviate fears and change negative perceptions of the community about the disease.

Dr, Ng shares, “Once diagnosed with cancer, the individual is suddenly faced with a multitude of fears and uncertainties about the future, and especially so when the affected individual is the family breadwinner. In EMPOWERED, we address their emotional turmoil and equip our beneficiaries with emotional support and an accurate road map towards obtaining optimal medical intervention,”

Mr, Tan Chu Tea, EMPOWERED’s 2011 CCASTP beneficiary is one of the Society’s passionate advocate for early colorectal cancer detection. He shares emotionally, “I was lucky. Without EMPOWERED I wouldn’t even have known that I had stage II colorectal cancer. I want to help others by telling them that, like me, they too can have a second chance to live, if they proactively decide to undergo screening and receive proper cancer treatment”.

Another of EMPOWERED’s beneficiary, Mdm. Yeoh Wei Ling, was diagnosed with pre-cancerous polyps in EMPOWERED 2014 CCASTP. She shares vividly, “I was overwhelmed when I received the news that there was blood in my stool. I was afraid, and I thought I was going to die“. She continues, “But thanks to EMPOWERED, their volunteers patiently sat with me through many hours of waiting in the hospital, and explained the medical jargons. They helped me to ask the questions that I did not know to ask. On top of everything, I did not need to pay a cent!”

Dr Ng is grateful for the unwavering support of caring individuals and organisations. She shares, “We are ever indebted to our partners who share in our cause and commitment to battle this top cancer killer in the country, and it is my hope that more will continue to partner with us on this meaningful journey.” She also urges corporate organisations to partner with EMPOWERED, and expresses gratitude to previous corporate sponsors for their support.

For parties interested to contribute to EMPOWERED’s cause, please write to

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