The national-level launch of the Lancet Commission: Women, Power, and Cancer Report in Malaysia took place at the Faculty Room in the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya on 7th Dec 2023. The half-day event garnered 111 participants from diverse backgrounds including cancer support group representatives, cancer civil society members, clinical professionals from public and private sectors, academics, researchers, health industry partners, professional society representatives and social activists. Sponsored and co-organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia and Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya, it aimed to share the key findings of the commission and to delve into critical aspects of women’s involvement and experiences in the context of cancer.
The ceremony commenced with a welcome note from Professor Dr April Camilla Roslani, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Universiti Malaya. The key findings and recommendations of the Lancet Commission on Women, Power and Cancer were then presented by Professor Dr Nirmala Bhoo Pathy, one of the 21 commissioners who had worked on the high-level report. Dr Saunthari Somasundaram, the President of the National Cancer Society of Malaysia, shared her perspectives on cancer in women based on her personal experiences with her mother who had cancer. Professor Dr April Camilla Roslani’s subsequent talk was based on the challenges and triumphs that she faced throughout her career as a woman in cancer surgery. Professor Dr Yip Cheng Har, a world-renowned breast surgeon and president of the International Surgical Society also graced the event and presented her perspectives as a woman in global cancer and provided insights into the gender-related obstacles that women often encounter in the field of medicine internationally.
The event’s highlight was a dynamic panel discussion that delved into the practical application of the Lancet Commission’s recommendations in Malaysia. This session that was moderated by Azrul Mohd Khalib, CEO of the Gallen Centre for Health and Social Policy comprised of experts from various backgrounds. Participants included Ms Hibatullah Abdul Rahman (Youth Cancer Survivor Group, National Cancer Society of Malaysia), Ms Leong Moh See (cancer caregiver), Dr Tang Shir Ley (clinical oncologist, Hospital Kuala Lumpur), Dr Ednin Hamzah (CEO, Hospis Malaysia), Dr Malwinder Singh Sandhu (Malaysian Oncology Society), and Professor Dr Norlisah Ramli (Academy of Medicine of Malaysia). The panel discussion provided a holistic view of the challenges and opportunities in implementing the Commission’s recommendations on a local scale.
In sum, the agenda brought in-depth insights, discussions, and recommendations that will contribute to the ongoing discourse on women, power and cancer in Malaysia.