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Speeches

The 22nd Annual Scientific Symposium

of the Hong Kong Cancer Institute

Opening Ceremony of “Breast Cancer Conference 2017”

11 November 2017 (Saturday) 9:00 - 9:30 am

Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Shatin

Speech by Secretary for Food and Health

Dr. [Michael] Ma (Chairman, Management Board of the Hong Kong Cancer Institute, CUHK),
Prof
[Anthony] CHAN (Director of the Hong Kong Cancer Institute, CUHK),
Dr
[Polly] CHEUNG (Founder of the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation),
Mrs. [Eliza] Fok (Chairman, Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation),
Prof
[Winnie] YEO (Professor of the Department of Clinical Oncology, CUHK),
Members of the Organising Committee, Colleagues, Distinguished Speakers and Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

                   Good morning. It gives me great pleasure taking part in the opening of “Breast Cancer Conference 2017”.  I would like to extend my warmest welcome to all our speakers and guests, especially our overseas experts who have travelled all the way to Hong Kong for the Symposium.

2.                Cancer is the number one killer in Hong Kong, accounting for about one-third of all deaths in 2016.  Breast cancer has been the most common cancer among women with a rising trend since the early 1990s.  It is the fifth leading cause of cancer deaths among female in Hong Kong. 

3.                Combating cancer has always been one of the top priorities on our health agenda.  The Government has established the Cancer Coordinating Committee, which I chair, to formulate comprehensive strategies and make recommendations for prevention and control of cancer in Hong Kong.  Under the Committee, the Cancer Expert Working Group on Cancer Prevention and Screening was set up to review local and international evidence on cancer prevention and screening in order to provide evidence-based recommendations.   

4.                To provide optimal care for cancer patients, the Hospital Authority (HA) currently operates six cluster-based oncology centres with networks with other hospitals and clinics to provide cancer care through in-patient, out-patient, ambulatory and outreach home care; from diagnosis to treatment and palliative care.  The HA also networks with non-government organizations in providing psychosocial support to cancer patients and their families at the community level.   Apart from that, the HA will commission the 7th oncology centre in United Christian Hospital with full operation by 2023 to enhance the cancer service.

5.                As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure”.  The Government attaches great importance to breast cancer prevention and control by promoting healthy lifestyles, namely be physically active, avoid drinking alcohol, maintain a healthy body weight and encourage breastfeeding.   

6.                Regarding early detection, mammography is widely used as a screening tool of breast cancer.  At present, there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against population-based mammography for female in Hong Kong.  All screening tests have their limitations and they are not 100% accurate.   The Food and Health Bureau has commissioned a large scale breast cancer research study to develop a locally-validated and evidence-driven risk prediction tool for breast cancer.  We look forward to the findings of the study to be available around 2019 which will shed light on breast cancer screening recommendations in Hong Kong and facilitate policy formulation.

Meanwhile, to promote early detection, the government encourages every woman to be breast aware.  If they spot any irregularities, they should consult a doctor as soon as possible.  

7.                For what is certain, the Government’s continuous efforts in cancer prevention and control will not be successful without the support, commitment and collaboration from all stakeholders in the community.  In this regard, I must thank the Hong Kong Cancer Institute and the Department of Clinical Oncology of the Chinese University of Hong Kong for organising this Symposium which provides an excellent opportunity for oncologists and medical professionals to share their insights and expert views on the combat of breast cancer.

8.                As the Secretary for Food and Health, to safeguard public health, provide quality medical services, ensure food safety and environmental hygiene will be top priorities on my health agenda.  My team and I will continue to work hard for the betterment of Hong Kong.

9.                I wish the Symposium every success. Thank you.                                              

W3C