CUHK Organizes First ‘Bowel Cancer Awareness Month’
The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Jockey Club Bowel Cancer Education Centre is organizing its first ‘Bowel Cancer Awareness Month’ funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trusts, featuring bus tours and health talks in various districts in Hong Kong during December 2016. It aims to improve public knowledge about this fatal illness. The launch ceremony for the campaign was held on 4 December, the officiating guests included Dr. KO Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health of the HKSAR Government, Dr. CHAN Hon-yee, Constance, Director of the Department of Health of the HKSAR Government, Ms. Imelda CHAN, Head of Charities (Grant Making – Elderly, Rehabilitation, Medical, Environmental & Family) of The Hong Kong Jockey Club, and Prof. Joseph SUNG, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK and Founding Director, CUHK Jockey Club Bowel Cancer Education Centre.
‘Awareness month’ bus tour in various locations to improve public knowledge
In recent years, the incidence rate of bowel cancer has overtaken lung cancer to become the most common cancer and the second leading cancer killer in Hong Kong, with approximately 5,000 new cases and over 2,000 deaths per year. According to international documentation, early detection of bowel cancer through screening (faecal occult blood test or colonoscopy) can greatly reduce the mortality rate by 70%. In the long run, it helps reduce the death rate and the resource burden on bowel cancer treatment.
CUHK Jockey Club Bowel Cancer Education Centre is launching this one-month campaign, spreading the message about bowel cancer through bus tours and giving education talks in various locations in the city. The campaign is expected to reach over 1.5 million people throughout Kwun Tong, Wong Tai Sin and Shum Shui Po. Staff from the Centre will answer queries from the public at the five health talks being held in Kowloon and the New Territories.
Dr. Ko and Professor Sung share experience of having undergone endoscopy screening
At the launch ceremony, Dr. KO Wing-man, Secretary for Food and Health of the HKSAR Government and Prof. Joseph SUNG, Vice-Chancellor of CUHK and Founding Director, CUHK Jockey Club Bowel Cancer Education Centre shared their experiences of their colon screening.
Dr. KO Wing-man remarked, ‘Colorectal cancer screening not only helps you to feel secure, it can also avoid the impact on the patient and the patient’s family when colorectal cancer is diagnosed. Diagnosed patients not only have to suffer physically, there may also be psychological and financial pressure. Early colorectal cancer screening could help improve the effectiveness of treatment. I underwent the colorectal screening as well and a polyp was taken out. Meanwhile, I would like to encourage the public to join the Government Colorectal Cancer Screening Pilot Programme, and to pay attention to health and adopt a healthy lifestyle which includes eating more vegetables and less meat, not smoking and consuming alcohol, and having enough exercise. This will greatly reduce the risk of suffering from colorectal cancer.’
Prof. Joseph SUNG stated, ‘A polyp was detected when I underwent the capsule endoscopy screening earlier. Then I received a colonoscopy and had the polyp removed before it could develop into a cancer. I hope that other people can also beware of their bowel condition just as I am.’ Along with the guests’ contributions, the ceremony held two rounds of talks on the subject from the viewpoints of both Chinese and Western medicine.
CUHK Jockey Club Bowel Cancer Education Centre has conducted bowel cancer screening for 15,000 people
In May 2008, The Institute of Digestive Disease at CUHK was generously funded with HK$16 million by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to set up the CUHK Jockey Club Bowel Cancer Education Centre and launched a territory-wide bowel cancer screening programme entitled ‘Bowel Cancer in Hong Kong: Education, Promotion and Screening’. In 2013, another donation of HK$16 million was received to launch another phase of a 5-year bowel cancer education and screening programme.
‘Prevention is better than cure. The cure rate of bowel cancer would rise rapidly if it could be diagnosed and treated in the early stage. In the light of this, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is once again supporting a five-year CUHK project to promote education and screening of the cancer,’ Ms. Imelda CHAN, Head of Charities (Grant Making – Elderly, Rehabilitation, Medical, Environment & Family) of The Hong Kong Jockey Club said at the ceremony. ‘The project not only provides training to medical staff and volunteers, but also promotes public education to raise citizens’ awareness of the cancer. We hope to collect medical data which can help the Government make long-term policies to prevent bowel cancer.’
Up to November 2016, the Centre conducted bowel cancer screenings for over 15,000 eligible participants aged 40 to 70 who had no symptoms of bowel cancer, for the tests. Under the programme, 29 subjects who underwent colonoscopy were diagnosed with cancer, 427 subjects were diagnosed with advanced adenoma and 1,638 participants were diagnosed with adenoma. People who are male, have first degree relatives with colorectal cancer, are smokers, and have diabetes or fatty liver are at higher risk. They should stay alert and have regular screenings.
Along with the screenings, the Centre provides health education and support for people who have a high risk of bowel cancer, and reaches out to the community through its events and partnerships with other health organizations. The Centre hopes to get the message across that early detection and prevention of bowel cancer can save lives. From 2008 till now, over 20,000 people have participated in the educational events of the Centre.