Cancer Epidemiology in Peninsular and Island South-East Asia - Past, Present and Future


Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor and the Philippines constitute peninsular and islandSouth-East Asia. For reasons of largely shared ethnicity, with Chinese elements added to the basic Austromalaysianpopulations, as well as geographical contiguity, they can be usefully grouped together for studies of chronicdisease prevalence and underlying risk factors. The fact of problems are shared in common, particularly regardingincreasing cancer rates, underlines the necessity for a coordinated approach to research and development ofcontrol measures. To provide a knowledge base, the present review of available data for cancer registration,epidemiology and control was conducted. The most prevalent cancer site in males is the lung, followed by theliver, colon or the prostate in the majority of cases, while breast and cervical cancers predominate in mostfemale populations. However, there are interesting differences among the racial groups, particularly regardingthe stomach. General tendencies for increase in adenocarcinomas but decrease in squamous cell carcinomasand gastric cancer, point to change in environmental influence over time. Variation in risk factors depends tosome extent on the level of economic development but overall the countries of the region face similar challengesin achieving effective cancer control. A major task is persuading the general populace of the efficacy of earlydetection and clinical treatment.