Beacon Hospital launches RM2 m chemotherapy fund

PETALING JAYA: A private hospital here has announced a RM2 million chemotherapy fund for early breast cancer patients that is available starting today.

Beacon Hospital medical director and clinical oncologist Datuk Dr Ibrahim Wahid, said the move was vital as the cost of cancer treatment in recent years has risen, making it unaffordable for low-income patients.

"It's alarming to note that an estimated 5,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually, with most of them aged between 30 and 60 years old, and nearly half (of those) affected under the age of 50, according to the 2005-2007 National Cancer Registry data.

"This means most of the patients are young," he said, adding the fund is meant to ease the pressure of financial burden for patients, and to prevent them from facing further difficulties such as bankruptcy after receiving treatment.

The programme, which was launched by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Rohani Abdul Karim, is designed to assist about 200 patients with a household income of RM5,000 per month.

"However, exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis," she said, adding that a patient need only pay 10% and the balance will be subsidised by the hospital.

Further information can be obtained at www.beaconhospital.com.my or call 03-7620 7979.

Rohani in her speech hoped more public awareness and mammograms on breast cancer will be emphasised in the 2018 budget.

She expressed concern on the matter as there are instances where some patients have delayed treatment due to its high cost.

"Breast cancer is curable if detected early and can be prevented through regular screening and early detection. I've been informed that the survival rate for early stage cancer can be as high as 80%. Not only are we discovering the majority of cancers in earlier stages, but also the five-year breast cancer survival rate is nearly 90% today," she said.