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#UNPAUSE 2021 campaign celebrates and recognises cancer caregivers, the heroes among us

BCWA, with the support of Pfizer, continues its mission to raise the awareness of mBC among the public, expands its focus this year to celebrate and recognise caregivers in their role as they continue to provide critical care for mBC patients during this time

•    The #UNPAUSE campaign highlights caregivers' pivotal role in supporting mBC patients, particularly as Malaysia navigates the COVID-19 pandemic.  
•    The campaign is a national awareness effort to engage Malaysians on social media about mBC and to support cancer caregivers who want to learn and connect with others who have similar experiences
•    The Me & MBC digital guide and audiobook is launched in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month to improve mBC literacy as well as to facilitate better communication between patients and their healthcare providers 

KUALA LUMPUR, 7 October 2021 – The Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia (BCWA), supported by Pfizer Malaysia, continues its mission to raise awareness of metastatic breast cancer (mBC) among the public through the #UNPAUSE campaign. This year, the campaign expands its focus to celebrate and recognise caregivers in their role as they continue to provide critical care and support to mBC patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women worldwide1 . Even when diagnosed early, up to 30 percent of women with early breast cancer will eventually progress to metastatic disease2 . Furthermore, the emotional toll of mBC can be profound and can transcend into the way people feel about themselves, communicate with others and live their lives3 . Therefore, a good, reliable caregiver support is critical to the physical and emotional well-being of patients with mBC4 .


"When a patient is diagnosed with mBC, it can feel like their whole life is put on pause. At BCWA, we understand that an mBC diagnosis can be emotionally and physically challenging, but patients do not have to travel this path alone. It is important to know that living life to the fullest after an mBC diagnosis is possible. There is also support beyond treatment to help patients embrace life and connect with local programs as well as online communities that can offer encouragement and emotional support," said Ms. Ranjit Kaur, President, Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia.

"Often, a caregiver's life can be put on the back burner because of their responsibilities. Many of them also have part or full-time jobs and families of their own to raise as they simultaneously act as the caregiver. As Edward Albert said so eloquently – the simple act of caring is heroic. Through the #UNPAUSE campaign this year, we would like to draw attention to our mBC caregivers, thank them for their efforts, and share their stories to motivate and inspire many more caregivers out there. We are proud to partner with Pfizer again to #UNPAUSE lives that are touched by metastatic breast cancer," added Ms. Ranjit Kaur.

Resources to #UNPAUSE lives that are touched by metastatic breast cancer
“Me & mBC” patient guide and audiobook to improve mBC literacy
As part of the campaign, BCWA today introduces Malaysia’s first-ever digital metastatic breast cancer patient guide called “Me & mBC”, which simplifies complex medical information for patients, their loved ones, and caregivers. The patient guide was developed to answer the most urgent questions an mBC patient or caregiver may have on diagnosis, treatment, and coping with daily life. It also provides a list of resources for more help – where to find more information, patient support groups, a doctor or counsellor, financial support, and other resources in your area.

Launched in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the development of the “Me & mBC” patient guide was led by patient advocates and healthcare professionals from BCWA with the involvement and support of Pfizer Malaysia. The “Me & mBC” patient guide is also available in audiobook format as an alternative for the public. 

Cancer care during the COVID pandemic
"Every day, we see patients who are bravely embracing their mBC journey, and their courage and perseverance constantly inspire me. The pandemic has challenged the medical community, but we have adapted care and treatment plans so that patients can continue to get the best care possible in response. We want to reassure patients that we are here to support them and provide cancer care and treatment when they need it," said Dr David Paul Capelle, Palliative Care Physician, University of Malaya Medical Centre. 

“Many hospitals and cancer clinics have taken appropriate steps designed to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Consult your healthcare providers for advice on safe visits and options available. Where possible, some centers are also offering virtual appointments, in which patients and physicians can meet online. The “Me & mBC” patient guide also provides information about cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic,” added Dr David Paul Capelle.

Cancer caregivers, the heroes among us 
Caregiving is a demanding endeavour that can affect even the most resilient person. Datuk Redzuawan Ismail or better known as Chef Wan, has always offered an unfiltered look into his daily life with his mother Noraini Abdullah, or as he affectionately calls her, Cik Ani. As Cik Ani's eldest child, Chef Wan dutifully takes care of his mother and has been Cik Ani's primary caregiver for many years. Last October was a challenging period for Chef Wan as Cik Ani was diagnosed with breast cancer. He could not sleep all night when he received the news but was determined to put on a brave front for Cik Ani.

"When my mother first started on her treatment for breast cancer, she had trouble controlling her body functions, and it must have been so embarrassing for her. As a son, seeing my mother go through that is, of course, difficult and heart-breaking, but all I could think was that I had to be strong for her. I looked for solutions, tried different ways to help my mom, and I found that what would help my mother was a routine, so we would take her to the bathroom every hour even if she did not need to go," shared Chef Wan.

“Most importantly, I will care and nurse my mother the best I can. Shower her with lots of love, comfort her till her last breath. If you are like me, currently caring for someone you love who is diagnosed with cancer, please be strong and know that you are not alone. If you are a patient, do not forget to thank the person caring for you," added Chef Wan.

This year's #UNPAUSE campaign will see stories of courage, compassion, and dedication from caregivers like Chef Wan who deliver care, hope, and strength to their loved ones.

To learn more about mBC, the #UNPAUSE campaign or the “Me & mBC” patient guide, please visit https://www.thrive-malaysia.com/

About Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia
A tax-exempt charitable organization, BCWA aims to reduce the risk of premature deaths among women due to breast cancer and improve the quality of life for individuals affected by breast cancer through our Community Outreach and Patient Supportive Care Services respectively. Our activities include psychosocial support and counselling for newly diagnosed individuals and their family members, as well as rehabilitation and recovery activities for breast cancer patients so that they can return to a normal life again. Our team of senior nurses offers Community Outreach Services throughout Malaysia to educate on breast health, conduct Clinical Breast Examinations on women, and, refer and navigate women for timely screening, diagnosis and medical treatment for breast cancer in local hospitals. 

Pfizer Inc.: Breakthroughs that change patients' lives
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world's premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. 

Issued by Hexa-Communications
On behalf of Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia and Pfizer Malaysia 
For more information, please contact:

Ms Cherry Lui                                                     Ms Ranjit Kaur
Hexa-Communications                                       Breast Cancer Welfare Association Malaysia
Tel: +6017-622 3906                                          Tel: +603-7954 0133, +6012-277 1998
Email: cherry.lui@hexa-comms.com                  Email: ranjit.pritam54@gmail.com

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