Exploring the Potential of a Natural Solution in Malaysia
The disease of cancer, which has long been the subject of extensive research, has ultimately raised global awareness about the risks of cancer to one’s health. In their quest for better health, some people may explore various methods, including lifestyle changes and dietary supplements. Thanks to current technological advancements in supplement development, researchers have delved deep into the study of a plant species known as Pueraria Mirifica for its potential in cancer prevention.
Cancer in Malaysia: Statistics, Common Types
The most recent statistics for Malaysia in 2020 reveal approximately 48,639 new cases of cancer reported, with a projected doubling of this number by the year 2040. According to these statistics, 1 out of 10 people in Malaysia is at risk of being diagnosed with cancer before the age of 75 . While cancer encompasses numerous categories, research has identified the most common types in Malaysia, including breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, and liver cancer . A cross-sectional study highlighted that despite breast cancer not being a new disease, there is still a lack of awareness among Malaysians, resulting in an escalating rate of breast cancer cases . Different types of cancer carry various risk factors, which can be categorized as either non-modifiable or modifiable. Non-modifiable risk factors include aging, genetic mutations, family history, and more. Meanwhile, modifiable risk factors encompass a sedentary lifestyle, heavier than normal weight, and alcohol consumption .
Breast Cancer: Awareness Challenges
The Breast Cancer Foundation has organized numerous programs aimed at raising awareness and promoting early detection of breast cancer. These programs include roadshow booths, monthly awareness talks, demonstrations of breast self-examinations, and the distribution of brochures and flyers . In Malaysia, newly diagnosed breast cancer patients have also explored the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as an option . This study reported that the majority of CAM users belong to the Malay ethnicity. Before incorporating CAM into their treatment, these individuals should consult and inform their healthcare providers . The research study found a high prevalence of dietary supplement usage among breast cancer patients. These patients are more likely to take dietary supplements, including vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements, as an alternative remedy. Often, their decision to use supplements is influenced by family members or relatives, and they strongly believe that supplements can enhance their immune system and improve their overall quality of life .
Figure: Pueraria Mirifica plant (Kwao Krua)
Pueraria Mirifica: A Natural Solution
Like many new supplements, the Pueraria Mirifica plant has garnered attention for its potential health benefits. Pueraria Mirifica is a phytoestrogen-rich herb that originates from Thailand. Traditionally, it has been used in Thailand to treat conditions such as menopause, alcoholism, and hypertension . However, the tuberous roots of Pueraria Mirifica that contain remarkable phytoestrogen properties shows promising effect in aiding various other conditions. In cancer research, studies have indicated that Pueraria Mirifica may have the potential to delay the growth of cancer cells and tumors . One study conducted in mice even found that a compound called miroestrol in Pueraria Mirifica has a cancer-protective effect . While there are claims about the anti-cancer properties of Pueraria Mirifica, further research in humans is needed to explore its potential for cancer prevention .
In conclusion, numerous strategies and initiatives have been implemented in society to promote early detection and prevention of cancers. Research studies have suggested that Pueraria Mirifica, with its anti-cancer properties, may play a role in inhibiting cancer cell lines. Presently, many developers have harnessed the benefits of this plant, creating various forms such as pills, creams, powders, and sprays, and incorporating it into medical preparations or herbal remedies . However, it is essential for patients to seek proper consultation from their doctors before taking any dietary supplements.
- Gleneagles Hospitals. (n. d.). Common Cancer in Malaysia. Retrieved September 12, 2023, from https://gleneagles.com.my/medical-specialties/oncology/cancer-statistics-malaysia
- Lee, M. S., ‘Azmiyaty Amar Ma’ Ruf, C., Nadhirah Izhar, D. P., Nafisah Ishak, S., Wan Jamaluddin, W. S., Ya’acob, S. N. M., & Kamaluddin, M. N. (2019). Awareness on breast cancer screening in Malaysia: a cross sectional study. BioMedicine, 9(3), 18. https://doi.org/10.1051/bmdcn/2019090318
- Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, July 25). What Are the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer? https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/risk_factors.htm
- Breast Cancer Foundation. (n.d.). Awareness Programmes. https://www.breastcancerfoundation.org.my/awareness
- Zulkipli, A. F., Islam, T., Mohd Taib, N. A., Dahlui, M., Bhoo-Pathy, N., Al-Sadat, N., Abdul Majid, H.,
Hussain, S., & MyBCC Study Group. (2018). Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Among Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patients in Malaysia: An Early Report From the MyBCC Study. Integrative cancer therapies, 17(2), 312–321. https://doi.org/10.1177/1534735417745248
- Baby, D. P. (2022, December 16). What Is Pueraria Mirifica? Discover 10 Benefits of Taking It. https://www.medicinenet.com/what_is_pueraria_mirifica_10_benefits/article.htm
- Hill, A. (2023, June 29). 7 Emerging Benefits of Pueraria mirifica. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pueraria-mirifica#TOC_TITLE_HDR_6