A total of 26,089 cases of cancer were diagnosed in Peninsular Malaysia throughout the year 2002.

A statement from the Ministry of Health, based on the National Cancer Registry (NCR), said Wednesday that the cases comprised 11,815 males and 14,274 females. The cumulative risk of cancer in Peninsular Malaysia was 18 percent, that is one in 5.5 Malaysians could be expected to get cancer in their lifetime.

Taking into account cases not registered by the NCR, the risk would be higher with one in four Malaysians getting cancer in their lifetime. Cancer occurred at all ages with a marked increase in males aged 40 and above and from the age of 30 in females.

The most common cancer in males was lung cancer, followed by nasopharyngeal cancer, colon cancer, leukaemia and rectal cancer, while in females it was breast cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer and leukaemia.

In comparison with other Asian countries, Malaysia had a higher incidence of cancer of the cervic, which ranked second among all female cancers. In other developed countries cancer of the cervix ranked much lower among female malignancies or even less common in Western countries.

Even though lung cancer was in sixth place in females, caution had to be exercised in its interpretion because the registration of lung cancer was incomplete, the statement said.

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