KUALA LUMPUR, March 23 – More oncologists will be permanently assigned to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) in Ipoh, Perak, this year, as the Health Ministry (MOH) expands its services for cancer patients in the northern region.
HRPB will receive at least one more oncologist by May, in addition to one oncologist who was permanently assigned on February 15 earlier this year, bringing the total number of cancer specialists at the hospital to four.
This is in addition to experts in the field of haematology, surgery, gynaecology, orthopaedic, and paediatrics who are also involved in cancer treatment.
Deputy Health Minister I Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali said 398 new cancer patients were referred from Perak to the Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology at Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) in 2021 — a decline from 430 patients in 2020 and 565 patients in 2019.
The number of cancer patients who have undergone radical radiation therapy and palliative radiation therapy has also seen a drop from 385 patients in 2019 to 315 patients in 2021.
Ipoh Timur MP Wong Kah Woh requested the data during a Special Chambers session in the Dewan Rakyat last March 17 on oncology services at HRPB.
Dr Noor Azmi said the MOH spent more than RM1.62 million on radiotherapy and oncology services in Perak in the first three months of this year, over 80 per cent of the total spent in 2020 (RM1.99 million) and 90 per cent of the total spent in 2021 (RM1.79 million).
The MOH’s annual allocation for cancer treatment includes surgery, chemotherapy, radical radiation therapy, brachytherapy, palliative radiation therapy, bone marrow transfer, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.
Chemotherapy services are also available at Seri Manjung Hospital, Taiping Hospital, Teluk Intan Hospital, and Slim River Hospital in Perak. In total, the MOH provides chemotherapy services in 37 public hospitals nationwide.
To ensure that MOH’s cancer treatment services and resources are effective and optimised, they are divided into five regions: northern, central, eastern, Sabah, and Sarawak.
There are currently six cancer centres in Malaysia, namely the National Cancer Institute, HKL, Penang Hospital, Sultan Ismail Hospital in Johor, the Likas Women and Children’s Hospital in Sabah, and Sarawak General Hospital in Kuching, Sarawak.