Press Releases

2018



CUHK Launches Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme Providing Free Screening to 10,000 HK Residents to Study Links with Obesity

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05 July 2018 The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is launching a five-year programme “CUHK Jockey Club Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme” to investigate the relationship between cancer and obesity. With the generous donation of HK$35 million from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, the programme will provide free-of-charge multi-cancer screening for 10,000 eligible Hong Kong residents. An inauguration ceremony was held today (5 July), officiated at by Professor Sophia CHAN, Secretary for Food and Health, the HKSAR Government; Dr. Eric LI, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Professor FOK Tai-fai, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President of CUHK and Professor Joseph SUNG, Director of the Programme and Mok Hing Yiu Professor of Medicine at CUHK.
 
Obesity increases the risk of multiple cancers
 
Obesity increases the risk of developing chronic diseases, including hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol level, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disease, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnoea and some cancers (breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and endometrial cancer). According to the Population Health Survey released by the Department of Health in 2017, half of the Hong Kong population aged 18 to 84 are overweight or obese.
 
Professor Sophia CHAN, Secretary for Food and Health, remarked at the ceremony, “The overweight and obesity problem among Hong Kong people is alarming. Obesity is a risk factor for a variety of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancers. An overseas study suggested that 40% of cancers are associated with poor lifestyles, such as unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol, and can be prevented.”
“The Club believes that ‘prevention is better than cure’, and that regular check-ups and early detection are particularly important to prevent cancer.” Dr. Eric LI, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club explained. “We are therefore keen to collaborate with different organisations and invest significant resources in cancer prevention and medication. For example, the Club joined hands with CUHK to establish the CUHK Jockey Club Bowel Cancer Education Centre in 2008, and launched health education and screening services in 2013 to raise public awareness of bowel cancer. We have also supported the setting-up of the Centre for Clinical Innovation and Discovery and the Institute of Cancer Care as a means of further advancing cancer research and therapies in Hong Kong.”
 
There are a number of explanations of how obesity might increase the risks of cancer and the American Institute for Cancer Research has consolidated a few: chronic inflammation, increasing the level of estrogen, insulin imbalance and increasing adipose factor.
 
Professor Joseph SUNG, CUHK Jockey Club Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme Director and Mok Hing Yiu Professor of Medicine of CUHK stated, “Our team has collected different data over the past ten years and found that obese people are prone to colorectal cancer and adenoma, and that the risk of incidence is 1.5 times that of normal people. According to international research papers, factors of metabolic syndrome such as obesity or diabetic mellitus are associated with prostate cancer and breast cancer. Therefore, we aim to decode the pathogenesis through this prevention programme.”
 
The table below illustrates the obesity-induced risk for colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
 
Colorectal Cancer The risk of developing colorectal cancer or adenoma for obese (BMI ≥ 25kg/m2) people is 1.5 times that of normal people.[1]
Breast Cancer Among postmenopausal women, a 5-unit increase in BMI is associated with a 20% to 40% increase in risk.[2]
Prostate Cancer The relative risk is 1.09 for every 5-unit increase in BMI[3]
 
Programme Provides Free-of-Charge Screening for Colorectal, Breast and Prostate Cancers
 
The “CUHK Jockey Club Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme” focuses on colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer screening and provide the service free-of-charge to 10,000 Hong Kong residents aged between 40 and 75 whose BMIs are 25 or above and with no cancer symptoms. Colorectal cancer and prostate cancer screening will be conducted for males; colorectal cancer and breast cancer screening will be conducted for females.
 
According to the Hong Kong Cancer Registry of the Hospital Authority, colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer ranked 1st, 3rd and 4th in the 10 most common cancers in Hong Kong in 2015. And these three cancers comprised 35.5% of all cancer incidences.
 
Professor Joseph SUNG added, “In 2008, CUHK received a donation from The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charites Trust and established ‘CUHK Jockey Club Bowel Cancer Education Centre’ to promote colorectal cancer screening. Now, with the new programme, we wish to raise public awareness of the relationship between obesity and cancer, and provide public health education. We also wish to collect medical data to assist the government in its cancer prevention policy.”
 
Apart from screening, the programme will also provide a one-stop follow-up service. If abnormal results are found in screening, the team will arrange further medical follow- up or referral for the participants. Exercise classes such as tai chi and diet suggestions from a dietitian will be provided by the centre to assist those who have a more serious obesity problem. Public health talks and exhibitions on body weight control are also available.
 
Residents who are interested in the programme can register through the below methods:
 
Method Website / Phone No. Date Time
Online https://mcp.cuhk.edu.hk/form 6 Jul 2018 – 5 Aug 2018 24 hours
Phone 2520-6250 9 Jul 2018 – 11 Jul 2018 9:30am – 5:30pm
 
The programme has a quota of 10,000 persons. Participants will be randomly picked.
 
[1] Wong MC, Lam TY, Tsoi KK, et al. A validated tool to predict colorectal neoplasia and inform screening choice for asymptomatic subjects. Gut. 2014;63(7):1130-6.
[2] Harvie M, Hooper L, Howell AH (2003) Central obesity and breast cancer risk: a systematic review. Obesity Reviews 4: 157-173.
[3] Cao Y, Giovannucci E (2016) Obesity and Prostate Cancer. Recent Results Cancer Res 208: 137-153.
“CUHK Jockey Club Multi-Cancer Prevention Programme” is officially launched to investigate the relationship between cancer and obesity. The programme will provide free-of-charge multi-cancer screening for 10,000 Hong Kong residents. Officiating guests include (from left) Professor Enders NG, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at CUHK, Professor Sophia CHAN, Secretary for Food and Health, the HKSAR Government; Dr. Eric LI, Steward of The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Professor FOK Tai-fai, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President of CUHK and Professor Joseph SUNG, Director of the Programme and Mok Hing Yiu Professor of Medicine at CUHK.

Professor Sophia CHAN remarks that the overweight and obesity problems among Hong Kong people are alarming. She encourages the general public to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

The Programme focuses on colorectal cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer screening and provides the service free-of-charge to 10,000 Hong Kong residents aged between 40 and 75.

Professor Joseph SUNG highlights that they wish to raise public awareness of the relationship between obesity and cancer, and provide public health education. The research team also wishes to collect medical data to assist the government in formulating cancer prevention policy.



Group photos with collaborators