Seniors get tested for stomach cancer at free screening

A community project has been launched to raise awareness of the need for early cancer detection among senior citizens.

The initiative was rolled out in Ang Mo Kio GRC and Sengkang West yesterday, at an event graced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

A total of 280 seniors in the two constituencies underwent free screening for stomach cancer, with the results out in two to six weeks on whether they are at high risk of getting the disease.

They were the first official users of a test kit approved earlier this month.

The test, developed by local medical technology start-up Mirxes, involves drawing a tube of blood, which will then be processed in a lab.

The event at Teck Ghee community Club was organised by #Checked Movement, a charity started this year to promote early cancer detection, together with the active ageing committees of the two constituencies.

Mr Lee, who was the guest of honour at the event, said in a Facebook post later that while the statistics can be intimidating, with 35 people diagnosed with cancer every day, more people are surviving cancer thanks to earlier detection and better treatment.

"I encourage everyone to have regular screenings, as cancer can affect anyone at any time... Prevention is better than cure, and early detection is the next best thing," said Mr Lee, who is an MP for Ang Mo Kio GRC.

#Checked co-founder Mark Cheng said in a speech that the organisation wants to work with government agencies, grassroots organisations, medical professionals and technology partners to bring effective cancer screening to Singaporeans.

#Checked organiser Tang Yew Chung said the aim is to roll out more of such screening events to other constituencies.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 19, 2019, with the headline Seniors get tested for stomach cancer at free screening. Subscribe