Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's not always about me..a community-minded message :-)

Human beings are very funny creatures. There is always a deeper instinct to fight for survival but given a choice, we do have noble and high motives in each of us. True altruism and activism lie within us depending on how much we give others some thoughts in life instead of thinking about ourselves all the time. Being too introspective reinforces our selfishness and self-preoccupation. So today I am going to talk about two topics which are not related to me.

Recently, there was an issue with land instability in a hostel near Gopeng, which is 45 minutes away from here. The students of a matriculation college were staying in a block near a slope. Due to the recent rain, the slope became unstable and the land started to give way. However, before disaster strikes, the students were moved out of their rooms before any landslide or building collapse were to occur.

Then the news died down and nothing much was mentioned about this tale. I found out that for the past few weeks, the students were camping out in different halls while revising for their exams. Others bunked in with their friends on other blocks. Hundreds of students were displaced from their rooms.

It’s weird that construction work and safety standards concerning public buildings seem to deteriorate with time. It was just recently that another state building in Perak collapse. Before long, this silver state will be known as the state with most collapsible buildings. We cannot have ‘house of cards’ being toppled over at the slightest storm or tremor. The quality of buildings should be guaranteed before it was declared fit for occupation.

Somebody from a pharmaceutical firm approached us recently concerning a vaccine which is in the market for some time but slow to gain popularity due to its controversial nature. Why? It’s to prevent infection from certain strains of human papillomavirus that can cause cervical cancer. We all know that HPV is transmitted via oral-genital or genital-genital routes, meaning it’s mostly through sexual intercourse.

Numerous debates raged on in a few developed countries between some moral-religious bodies and the health authorities. Some feel that the use of the vaccine in young ladies/girls (before the age of 26 year old) will promote promiscuity while the health workers heavily promote this vaccine as we cannot regulate human behaviour nor it’s a licence to do whatever we want with random people.

Most importantly, we feel that it’s a tool to prevent the second most-lethal cancer among women in many countries, including Malaysia. As of now, the only prohibitive factors among many would-be takers are the cost, accessibility and the lack of promotion as to many people, cervical cancer is considered ‘taboo’ and most prefer not to talk about it.

As a young doctor who is within the targeted age group, I welcome and highly-appreciate any form of enquiries or discussion about this cancer, the innovative and easily-available vaccine and any thoughts on prevention of cancers among women in Malaysia, especially breast and cervical cancer.

Oh, talking about breast cancer, of course for now, we cannot prevent the development of breast cancer but early detection is life-saving and breast self-examination is the among the simplest, routine action any woman can do monthly.

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