Over the weekend, news about national badminton player Datuk Lee Chong Wei being diagnosed with early-stage nose cancer sent shockwaves across the country.
The Badminton Association of Malaysia (BAM) released an official statement confirming that the shuttler is currently undergoing treatment in Taiwan.
Malaysians all around has been sending him wishes of speedy recovery ever since then.
Despite the unfortunate news, the badminton icon has reassured everyone that he is not giving up through an encourage voice message all the way from Taiwan.
"Wait for me. I’ll return to the court. Don’t forget me yet, I’m still here," he said, as quoted by The Star
"I’ll return soon. Thank you for all the concern and care shown to me during my two-month recovery. I’ll... say more when I come back."
Prior to this, we probably seldom hear about this type of cancer.
(NPC), a form of nose cancer, often appears in the nasopharynx, which is the upper part of the throat behind the nose and near the base of the skull.
According to Ipoh Pantai Hospital Ear, Nose and Throat consultant, and head and neck surgeon Dr Rekha Balachandran, one of the first symptoms is usually when there is a lump or swelling that is painless.
Anyone that experiences this type of swelling for more than three weeks should consult a doctor as soon as possible, as reported by Bernama
The next symptom that follows is usually nose bleeding. Also, pay attention to any nasal blockage, stuffiness, reduced hearing especially on one ear, these could be other symptoms of NPC.
Nevertheless, it is possible to treat NPC when it is detected at an early stage.
"The five-year survival rate is actually quite high. For the earliest stage of NPC, stage one and two, the survival rate is 80 to 85 per cent," Dr Rekha said.
"I have personally seen some patients with NPC survive more than five years, 10 to 20 years. As long it is detected before the tumour spreads too much."
Now, she also shared that NPC is actually most common among Malaysians of Chinese ancestry
This is followed by the Malay and Indian communities here. In fact, there is also a high occurence of NPC among the Bidayuh community of Sarawak.
This happens due to heredity, lifestyle and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infections
Having a close family member with NPC increases the risk of the disease," Dr Rekha added.
In fact, consuming preserved food like salted vegetables and dried fish frequently also contributes to the risk of NPC.
Do take note that it is difficult to diagnose NPC early because the initial symptoms don't usually cause pain or discomfort.
So, the most important thing we can do is to consciously lead a healthier lifestyle and maintain a healthy diet to reduce the risk of getting NPC.
Once again, we would like to wish Datuk Lee Chong Wei a speedy recovery. We can't wait to see you at the court again!