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About HKCFP > President’s Message

August 2019

Cancer as the leading killer disease in Hong Kong has claimed over 14 000 lives in 2018, accounting for approximately one-third of the total annual deaths locally. In light of the ageing population, changing health risk profiles, social changes and globalisation, cancer burden is expected to continue to rise and be a major public health challenge to Hong Kong in the coming decades. The Hong Kong Cancer Strategy (HKCS) launched by the government recently is offering a holistic plan for cancer prevention and control for Hong Kong. The directions laid down in HKCS include reducing risk factors leading to cancer and providing evidence-based screening; seeking early detection and diagnosis; offering timely and effective treatment; strengthening survivorship support to cancer survivors; providing palliative and end-of-life care; investing in technology; enhancing collaboration among relevant bureaux government departments, the Hospital Authority, community organisations, civil society; as well as enhancing surveillance and research capabilities. All in all, these strategic directions are highly relevant to primary health care and family doctors who provide lifelong care to patients in the community.

Provision of preventive care, in addition to management of diseases, is important for promoting health of the population. Cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) share many common risk factors associated with unhealthy lifestyle, like smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of physical activity, obesity and so on. Family doctors can help patients to reduce the modifiable risk factors leading to cancer by promoting the adoption of healthy lifestyle, which is an important strategy for primary prevention of cancer.

Through our continuing partnership with patients and their families, survivorship support to cancer survivors can be further strengthened according to their changing needs and health conditions. Provision of appropriate palliative and end-of-life care for patients during their final journeys in life is what family doctors can do to improve the quality of life of the patients and their families.

A primary care system supported by well qualified family doctors is essential for prevention, early detection, as well as timely and effective management of cancers and other NCDs. Cancer burden can be relieved through a well delivered primary care system. As mentioned before, it is high time that the policy makers should look into further enhancing the current system to ensure a steady supply of quality family doctors, from the annual allocation of more Family Medicine training posts, to supporting Continuing Medical Education and Continuing Professional Development activities, so that "right patient in the right place at the right time" could be achieved and sustained, i.e. appropriate patients could be looked after in the community by family doctors, avoiding the need for all patients queueing up at the hospital setting.

The inaugural Ceremony of Macao Academy of Medicine was held on 13 July 2019. The Macao Academy of Medicine sets the standard of specialists training in Macao. With a view to foster closer collaborations between the two academies in the future, the Hong Kong Academy of Medicine and the Macao Academy of Medicine also signed a Memorandum of Understanding together. The ceremony was well attended by Presidents or representatives of sister Colleges from Hong Kong.

Dr. David V K CHAO