Health Ministry looking to address waiting period for cancer patients, says Dr Dzul


CYBERJAYA: The waiting period for cancer patients to receive treatment would depend on several factors which include the case’s urgency, says Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

The Health Minister also said that to address the waiting time, public hospitals would also cooperate with private operators if necessary when handling cancer cases to ensure better treatment.

“The long waiting time for treatment at public hospitals has been challenging. However, if a patient has been diagnosed (with cancer) during the screening, the family medical specialist at public health clinics will refer them to general hospitals for treatment,” he said.

“Depending on the severity and medical emergencies of it, if it’s urgent, the patient could receive treatment immediately or within a month after being diagnosed,” added Dr Dzulkefly after launching World Cancer Day 2024 at the University of Cyberjaya on Saturday (Feb 17).

Health director-general Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan added that the patient could even receive immediate treatment a day after receiving their cancer screening results.

“It depends on the urgency of the case; if it’s severe, we can even provide treatment the next day.

“There should not be any issue of waiting for a long time for treatment as our service at the Health Ministry would reach the community at every level,” he added.

Meanwhile, Dr Dzulkefly said that to strengthen cancer care in the country further, the ministry has also been collaborating with teaching hospitals under the Higher Education Ministry.

“We do this (working with universities) so that we can reduce the waiting time (at public hospitals), aside from cooperating with private hospitals,” he said.

Dr Dzulkefly added that World Cancer Day 2024, themed Close the Care Gap, would also focus on “patient-centred care”.

He said that a “whole-of-nation” approach in addressing cancer screening, treatment and care in Malaysia would provide physical and psychological well-being for the patients.

He added that as the number of cancer cases has been increasing, integrated cancer care supported by ‘supportive cancer care’ will be able to provide more focused care services to patients.

“The delivery of cancer care in Malaysia involves various fields, professions and disciplines, which include the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

“Malaysian cancer NGOs are committed and active in providing comprehensive delivery of support throughout the spectrum of cancer care, from prevention to research,” he said.

The ministry co-organised the event with the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), the University of Cyberjaya, the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) and over 20 other NGOs in the field.

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