#Hashtag Hong Kong



    Listen to #Hashtag Hong Kong every Sunday morning at 8.15

    Focussing on issues affecting civil society, we'll hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies, and non-profit groups.

    (Sundays 8.15am - 8.25am)



    Maggie Lee, Executive Director of Hong Kong Alzheimer's Disease Association

    “File does not exist” …….

    “This file is corrupted and cannot be opened” …….

    These may be common problems in our daily computer use.

    Then how about the brains of people with dementia? Memory and the files in their brain are always broken and difficult to recall.


    Dementia is a degenerative disease of the brain. The deterioration usually starts very slowly, being forgetful at first. Eventually, it can develop into obvious memory loss, inability to self-care, being lost, not recognising loved ones and forgetting important moments in life.

     “Who are you?”, “Where am I?” are heartbreaking questions but repeated by people with dementia at every moment. Please remember, Dementia is not normal ageing, but a disease that causes memories to fade from the recent to distant past.


    In Hong Kong, about 10% of people over the age of 65 live with dementia, and over the age of 85 is as high as one-third. We all know that Hong Kong is facing an ageing population and the prevalence of dementia will sharply increase. There are currently about hundred and fifty thousand people living with dementia in Hong Kong. The number will double in the next 15 years. However, is Hong Kong ready for the silver tsunami?


    The development of a comprehensive plan for dementia care by our policymakers would be the crucial way out for our future. Countries or cities around us, such as China, Macau, Singapore, and Japan, have already developed national plans to prepare society for the challenges. But we are still in its infancy.


    “Never too Early, Never too Late” is the theme of World Alzheimer’s Month this year. We aim to arouse everyone’s importance on risk reduction in delaying and potentially preventing the onset of dementia. I think policy planning should also be “never too early, never too late”, We need to take action before family caregivers, and our health and social care systems collapse.


    Different interventions are effective in dementia management. It is imperative to grasp the golden opportunity in the earliest stage. Unfortunately, the diagnostic rate of dementia has remained at only 10% for the past few decades. That means the majority of the people living with dementia are still without proper interventions and support.



    Memory problems in the early stage can easily be mistaken as signs of normal ageing. Neither the people with dementia nor their families and friends realize it until more obvious problems happen in their daily lives.  Moreover, family size in Hong Kong is getting smaller and there are more and more childless couples, early symptoms may go unnoticed if people do not interact closely in day-to-day life.


    Public education to increase awareness of early signs of dementia, easily accessible diagnostic services, and shorten waiting time, all of these should be put into action.


    Dementia is referred to as the “long goodbye”, our beloved seems to be becoming a stranger slowly. In my 20 years of walking with families, I know too well how frustrating it can be when a loved one has dementia. But I keep encouraging the families to appreciate what our beloved can still do and remember, and try to keep them for as long as possible. We may worry about the next deterioration coming, but while waiting for the future, what deserves more attention is the current him/her.


    If you or your beloved are living with dementia, don’t give up. Drugs can help. Different brain-stimulating activities and caring techniques can ease the symptoms or slow down the deterioration. Equipment and technology can help to make life easier. We are here to walk through it with you. You are not alone, just let us know.


    If you are healthy, congratulations, but remember “Never too early, Never too late”, take actions to reduce the risk factors of dementia. A healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, healthy and balanced diet, stay mentally and socially active. All these can help. Please remember to use and keep your brain active or you will lose it.


    September is World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign initiated by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) to raise awareness and remove the stigma of dementia. As the sole member of ADI in Hong Kong, we invite you to join us in caring about the brain health of your families, neighbours and friends, supporting those living with dementia around you and seeing if we can help.


    Finally, I’d like to dedicate the song “I'm Not Gonna Miss You” by Glen Campbell to all people with dementia and their caregivers. The disease may take the memory, but not of the love you share and cherish.

    17/09/2023 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    17/09/2023 - Maggie Lee, Executive Director of Hong Kong Alzheimer's Disease Association


    07 - 09


    Maggie Lee, Executive Director of Hong Kong Alzheimer's Disease Association


    Vincent Ng, Executive Director of Suicide Prevention Services


    Marine Thomas, Senior Conservation program Manager at Nature Conservancy Hong Kong


    Joyce Chan , a volunteer at House of Joy and Mercy


    Kylie Lai, Programme Officer, CarbonCare InnoLab


    Ivan Lam, manager of Hong Kong PHAB Association


    Stephanie Ng, founder of Body Banter


    Amanda Lau, board governor of Music Children Foundation


    Cindy Chau, Project Executive, Chu Kong Plan


    Hugo Chu, member of Healing Parks

    Dr Polly Cheung, Founder, Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation

    October is the month dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness around the world. Pink ribbons, banners and posters pop up in many shops and corners in the city. The Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation holds its annual Pink Walk and Pink Together event, to raise awareness of breast cancer among the public and encourage people to adopt a healthier life style, including doing more exercise, eat healthily, avoid smoking and alcohol, and learn to relieve stress.
    Breast cancer awareness has two parts. One, is to note any change in the breasts, such as lumps, skin changes, sudden enlargement or asymmetry. Second, is to undergo regular mammography screening.
    Breast cancer is an important health hazard to Hong Kong women. It has persistently been the most common cancer affecting Hong Kong women for 28 years since 1994. According to the latest figures from the Hong Kong Cancer Registry in 2019, 1 in 14 women will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. Every day, 13 people are newly diagnosed and 2 die of breast cancer.  
    Early detection saves lives. Breast cancer screening can detect early breast cancers which may not be palpable, and thereby reduce mortality. Mammography screening is available in at least 34 countries in the world, including UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, USA, many European and South American countries. In Asia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan have government-funded breast cancer screenings. In mainland China, dual cancer screening for women, namely cervical and breast cancer, is advocated and supported by the Government, especially in the rural areas. 
    Successful breast cancer screening can detect 5-10 cases of breast cancer for every 1,000 persons. The Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation has provided breast cancer screening services to 85,000 women since 2011 at their Breast Health Centers. Out of 1,000 asymptomatic women, 7 were found to have breast cancer, the detection rate is similar to international figures. 
    In Taiwan, results from their breast screening program are very encouraging. For the 1.5 million women who received regular mammography screening in the past two decades, breast cancer staging II and above was reduced by 30%, and the death rate was reduced by 40%.
    In the past years, the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation has submitted policy address proposal to the Chief Executive, advocating a three-phase approach to breast cancer screening: first, to implement regular screening for high-risk women; second, to provide free screening for low-income women; and thirdly, based on data from the first and second phase, to work towards universal breast cancer screening.
    Today, Hong Kong has taken an important step in breast screening. The Department of Health has launched a Breast Cancer Screening Pilot Scheme in September 2021, offering two yearly mammography screening to average risk women. The program adopts a risk-based approach. Women between the ages of 44 and 69, are considered high risk if they have any of the following risk factors, namely a first degree relative having breast cancer, obesity, lack of physical activity, first menstrual period at the age 11 or earlier, never had a baby, had their first child after age 30, or had a history of benign breast disease. They can also use the breast cancer risk assessment tool developed by the University of Hong Kong to calculate their own individualized breast cancer risk. If they are in the 25% highest risk category, they will be eligible for government subsidized breast screening, with access to government-funded mammography examinations at the three Women's Health Centres, run by the Department of Health.
    In Hong Kong, more than 1.5 million women are aged between 44 and 69. According to statistics from the Department of Health, more than half of the adults do not exercise enough. Considering physical inactivity alone as a risk factor for breast cancer, at least 750,000 women will be eligible for risk based screening. Adding other risk factors to reach the highest 25% risk category, at least 187,500 women should be offered two yearly breast screening. The Government needs to encourage participation of NGOs and private medical institutions through public-private partnership, to provide adequate screening services to the public.
    In this October Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge you to turn knowledge into action, examine your breast health and start regular breast screening. And, support our Pink Together 2022 campaign. This year, we encourage women to do more exercise and to donate for the worthy cause of mitigating the breast cancer threat in Hong Kong.


    02/10/2022 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    02/10/2022 - Dr Polly Cheung, Founder, Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation