Health Minister calls for greater solidarity among stakeholders in launch of World Cancer Day
“Cancer is among the top ten reasons for hospitalization for both MOH and private hospitals. In Malaysia, although positive progress has been achieved involving cancer disease management, 63.7 percent of all reported cancer cases were in stage 3 and stage 4, stages where one’s survival rate dropped significantly,” said Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
Between 2012 and 2016, the MOH recorded 115,238 cases of cancer. In comparison, there were only 103,507 cases in the preceding 5 years (2007–2011). This was an 11 percent increase in a span of 5 years. In 2020, 48,639 new cancer cases were recorded, with 29,530 deaths due to cancer. Most recently, in the 5-year period towards 2020, there were 128,018 cases recorded—another stark increase.
Zaliha noted the key to battling cancer is having sufficient awareness of it. This enables early detection, effective treatment, and prevention of cancer. Thus, on top of treatment, raising awareness about cancer must be a top goal. The MOH actively endorses World Cancer Day in order to raise awareness of the disease, encourage early identification and treatment, and to push other policymakers to create universal cancer care policies and systems. The theme of “Closing the Care Gap,” is particularly pertinent and serves as a reminder for everyone to increase their efforts in highlighting the inequities in cancer care and minimizing the gap so that everyone can receive the necessary treatment without any exceptions.
"In line with the KPJ Healthcare Group’s ‘Care for Life’ promise, the introduction of new treatments based on advanced technology is a testament to the group’s commitment to delivering world-class healthcare services and end-to-end patient experience,” said Norhaizam Mohammad, Officer-in-Charge of KPJ Healthcare. This serves as the foundation for the company’s goal of consistently raising standards through the innovative application of technology, thus ensuring that patients receive the best care possible.
Zaliha and Norhaizam were speaking at the unveiling of Elekta Versa HD Linear Accelerator (LINAC) at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital (DSH) recently. LINAC is touted to be a “sophisticated linear accelerator system technology that provides the most accurate and safe form of treatment for cancer patients.” The device features state-of-the-art components such as the 6D robotic couch, surface guided catalyst HD, and the latest version of the treatment planning system, the Monaco and Oncology Information System or “Mosaiq.” Also present at the launch was Dr Rozman Md Idrus, medical director of KPJ DSH.
With LINAC, important information may be precisely obtained, mapped, and treated, including tumour volume, shape, and size. LINAC allows safe treatment of tumours that are hard to reach or that are close to vital organs and at a greater dose rate while still receiving very accurate dosages of radiation. This is crucial to ensuring that vital organs like the heart, spine, and bladder are always protected throughout the course of treatment.