On Thursday 21st May there were reported just 50 new cases of Covid 19 in the whole of Malaysia, which is a good sign the disease has been largely contained.
Nonetheless, Malaysians are being asked to understand, thanks to a press release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, that one of these unfortunates was an official who, presumably whilst feeling sick, decided nonetheless to attend a meeting with the prime minister.
The meeting was post cabinet, so not early in the day. Yet barely 24 hours later the press release was sent out explaining the official has tested positive for Covid 19. Given that it takes some 24 hours for tests to produce a result, according to an expert consulted by Sarawak Report, this sick person must have taken themselves to a clinic straight after leaving that meeting with the prime minister for such an announcement to have been so swiftly made.
He must have rushed to the hospital and some might wonder why a person suspecting they had symptoms would sit in proximity with ‘PM8′, a man advanced in years who is in remission for pancreatic cancer? The announcement has stated that with immediate effect the PM will go into a 14 day quarantine period owing to this incident (the second since he took over in March).
Meanwhile, and clearly entirely coincidentally, there has been much talk behind the scenes that it has become necessary for the prime minister to undergo chemotherapy to combat a recurrence of his pancreatic cancer. This has absolutely not been confirmed officially, however it occupies much discussion unofficially close to the corridors of power in KL.
That there should be such talk is not surprising in that the overwhelming majority of patients who are operated upon for pancreatic cancer (as was Muhyiddin in early 2018) experience an unfortunate recurrence of the disease within 2 years. The normal treatment is chemotherapy.
For this reason Malaysians may be interested to understand the nature of chemotherapy treatment of this kind. According to an expert oncologist consulted by Sarawak Report the treatment is performed in cycles. The patient will receive an infusion of the chemicals on Day 1 and then needs two weeks of intense rest to get over the impact.
“The drugs are usually given in 6 cycles every 3 weeks, depending on the regime. What we are talking about is months of chemo, most of which will involve lengthy periods of considerable rest”
explained the doctor.
Were a patient to have received chemo today, for example, they would therefore be hopeful of being able to make an appearance again….. in about 14 days. After a week however they would be back undergoing the next round of treatment.
It is a very gruelling and all encompassing experience and one’s heart goes out to any sufferer and their family and wishes them the best possible outcome in every case. Unfortunately, the prognosis for recurring pancreatic cancer is not generally very cheerful.
Pancreatic cancer is well known to be one of the most virulent and deadly forms of cancer, not least because it is usually not detected early. According to present figures, “five-year survival rates approach 25% if the cancers are surgically removed while they are still small and have not spread to the lymph nodes”. However, over all, just 6% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are alive five years later.
Surgery provides the best hope if the tumour is localised and still hasn’t spread. However if it returns or the cancer has spread it is unfortunately one of the most aggressive types and there are still limited forms of treatment. If someone receives chemotherapy over a year after completing the original surgery it is a sign the disease has indeed recurred or spread, which is predominantly the case after two years.
Only about 10 to 15 percent of pancreatic cancers are diagnosed when they could be considered for surgery. And the prognosis is poor even in patients who do have surgery, because it comes back about 85 percent of the time. At best, 25 to 30 percent of patients are alive five years after surgery.
Why is this particular cancer so aggressive?
Because of the nature of the tumor cells. They escape the treatments, they hide out, and then they come back. And they grow again and they affect the liver and then they kill people. [Scientific American]
Signs of a recurrence of the disease are rapid weight loss and fatigue. Stress and exertion are a factor in speeding the progress of pancreatic cancer and are strictly advised against by doctors.
So Sarawak Report naturally hopes that the gossip implying that ‘PM8′ needs to return to receive further chemotherapy is just that. If he were to need to receive a two week cycle of chemo at any point, it becomes clear that whilst he would be able to show his face again for a week or so after that, all being well, there would be many more such cycles to come and little hope of any opportunity to perform much in the way of duties in the meantime.
Indeed, to take on the stressful role of running the country would be strictly advised against by any doctor.
Whilst ‘PM8′ undergoes his present 14 day quarantine for Covid 19, Sarawak Report has been informed that it is understood that the ‘senior’ minister Azmin Ali will be stepping in to chair Cabinet meetings.