The government says that it will launch a lung cancer screening programme for local residents later this year.
Kuok Cheong U, a deputy director of the Health Bureau (SSM), made the remarks while speaking to reporters in Iao Hon Market Park on Saturday on the sidelines of an event organised by the Macau Association of Friends of Charity – a support group for cancer patients – to promote anti-cancer information.
SSM Director Lei Chin Ion told the legislature last month that the government would study the possible launching of a lung cancer screening programme this year. The health chief said at that time that computerised axial tomography scans (commonly known as a CT scan) will be used for the proposed lung cancer screening programme, adding that the method is relatively easy and effective.
Kuok, who also heads the public Conde de Sao Januario Hospital Centre, said on Saturday that medical experts in his bureau were preparing the lung cancer screening programme, but were still discussing when it could be launched.
Kuok said his bureau expected the programme to be launched in this quarter or next quarter, adding that the programme would be launched as a pilot scheme first with the aim of further improving its operation, depending on how effective its implementation would be.
Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng told the legislature last month that the government would extend this year the age range for those covered by the government’s current Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme from the age of between 60 and 69 to the age of between 55 and 69.
The government launched its Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme in late 2016.
Kuok said on Saturday that over 6,700 local residents took part in the Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme until August last year since its launch, adding that 47 of them were confirmed to suffer from colorectal cancer and that most of them were found to have the disease in its early stage. He also said that 562 were found to have benign polyps.
Kuok also said the government would study the possibility of further lowering the age range for its Colorectal Cancer Screening Programme.