Hospital expands with new oncology centre

This is how its done: Senior medical physicist Meelashini Letchumanan (right) explaining the Volumetric Modulator Arc Therapy equipment to visitors after the opening ceremony of Adventist Oncology Centre at Penang Adventist Hospital in Burmah Road.

CANCER cases worldwide have been on the increase and it is becoming the leading cause of deaths.

In Malaysia alone, cancer cases have increased from 32,000 new cases in 2008 to about 37,000 in 2012. This figure is expected to rise to 56,900 by 2025.

Meanwhile, mortality due to cancer stood at 20,100 in 2008 but rose to 21,700 in 2012, according to the World Health Organisation.

Building on this, Penang Adventist Hospital has taken steps to expand its existing cancer services with the setting up of the Adventist Oncology Centre.

Hospital chief executive officer Dr Wesley Toh said the centre, which occupies a three-storey building, is a collaboration between the hospital and the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).

He said the setting up of the centre has put Penang in the forefront by being the first private hospital in the northern region to have a building dedicated to cancer services.

“At the centre, a multi-disciplinary team approach will be adopted in caring for patients and they will have more than one specialist providing professional consultations through an attending oncologist.

“Oncologists from the NCCS will also provide input for most cases to ensure our diagnosis and treatment plans are performed according to world standards,” he said at the opening of the centre at the hospital grounds in Burmah Road, Penang recently.

The centre will also offer services such as outpatient assessment and diagnostics, surgical oncology, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and inpatient hospitalisations while cancer prevention education and counselling will also be provided.

Dr Toh said in addition to having 28 beds, the centre also has 20 chemotherapy bays which can treat up to 40 patients in an eight-hour operational day service.

A library with educational materials for patients to browse while receiving treatment has also been set up, he added.

The centre, which already has the approval from the Penang Island City Council, is expected to start operations once the Health Ministry gives the greenlight.

“We are anticipating the approval sometime this month or next month,” he said.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng was delighted that the hospital had responded to the state government’s call to expand its existing cancer care services.

“The centre, which is a RM40mil investment, will help further encourage the flow of medical tourists to Penang,” he added.

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