KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 – The Columbia Asia Group of Hospitals has launched their first cancer centre in Bukit Rimau, along with its latest effort to change the cancer-care landscape in Malaysia, the Breaking Barriers initiative, a holistic approach to cancer care that addresses three major gaps relating to this disease: cancer prevention, cancer patient navigation, and support for those living with cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, 48,639 new cancer cases were recorded in Malaysia in 2020. The 2012-2016 Malaysia National Cancer Registry Report showed an 11 per cent increase in new cancer cases and 30 per cent more deaths from cancer, when compared to the 2007-2011 report.
This upward trend reveals a greater need for better access to quality cancer care. With the launch of the centre, Columbia Asia aims to address the three major cancer-related gaps, and increase cancer care access for all Malaysians.
“Cancer care requires a holistic and multidisciplinary approach. It is our hope that our new cancer center will make high-quality integrative cancer care more accessible,” said Dr Chan Boon Kheng, managing director and group CEO of Columbia Asia.
“Cancer is a life-changing diagnosis. It affects every part of your life: physically, mentally, and emotionally. We understand that cancer treatment needs to be more than just medical. By employing an integrative approach, we can offer our patients personalised treatment plans that combine clinical innovation and patient-centered care. We hope to deliver the best quality cancer treatment,” he added.
The centre offers cancer screenings and diagnostics, individualised treatment options, post-treatment care, a cancer rehabilitation program, palliative care, dietary consultation, multi-disciplinary specialty care, pain management, home care, patient group support, and clinical trials.
It is furnished with the latest equipment and a collaborative team of experts comprising consultants and oncologists, supported by a radiotherapy team, a chemotherapy unit, a patient experience team, procedure specialists, oncology nurses, and a dietician.
The radiotherapy unit is equipped with a sophisticated linear accelerator machine, the Elekta Versa HD. This machine can deliver precise treatment to even the smallest tumours in previously untreatable areas, sparing the surrounding healthy tissues, thus reducing side effects.
The chemotherapy daycare unit provides various systemic therapies, including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, and cell-based therapy for solid hematological cancers in a modern space designed with comfort and care in mind.
The consultants’ clinics are situated next to the unit for the convenience of our doctors to review patients and for patients to consult with doctors.
“We want more Malaysians to understand that a cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Each day, there are many options for preventative care, curative treatment, and improved quality of life for cancer patients and their families,” said Lee Hui Chuen, regional general manager of Columbia Asia Hospitals at Bukit Rimau, Petaling Jaya, and Seremban.
“We envision our new cancer centre as the first step towards a shift in the way Malaysians think and talk about cancer. That is also why we are kicking off the Breaking Barriers initiative today,” she added.
The first project under Breaking Barriers is the #ClockOut2CheckUp campaign. With the understanding that late detection is one of the largest gaps in cancer care, this campaign is designed to incentivise Malaysians to take control of their health and kickstart the habit of going for regular cancer screenings.
Columbia Asia Hospital Bukit Rimau has chosen to take the first steps themselves, offering all its employees the opportunity to go for a free cancer marker screening in exchange for a day off work. A total of 275 employees have accepted and stepped forward for the initiative. Now, the hospital is offering 1,000 more screenings for Malaysian companies interested in joining the effort.
Columbia Asia believes that company culture can shape employees into becoming more productive, thus increasing company performance. As such, they are encouraging Malaysian companies to join in the spearheading of this cultural shift.
The ClockOut2CheckUp Corporate Challenge will run until October 31, 2022. Malaysian companies interested in signing up to participate may do so on the challenge microsite. The hospital will also be offering 200 cancer marker screenings to the public from October 1 onwards.
“The Breaking Barriers initiative championed by Columbia Asia Hospital Bukit Rimau is a big step forward in changing the conversation around cancer,” said Dr Kananathan Ratnavelu, consultant medical oncologist.
“The battle against cancer begins not at diagnosis but at prevention and early detection. One of the most common reasons we hear from patients who choose to delay screenings is they’re afraid of the results. By making regular cancer screenings easier to access and encouraging their frequency, this effort has the potential to help detect more cases sooner, so patients can make a fuller recovery,” he added.
To continue efforts to raise cancer awareness, Columbia Asia Hospital Bukit Rimau is collaborating with non-governmental organisations such as the Breast Cancer Welfare Association (BCWA) and CANSURVIVE.
Additionally, as part of a corporate social responsibility initiative, the centre will offer special treatment packages to patients referred from government hospitals to relieve the government’s long waiting list of cancer patients awaiting treatment and to expedite treatment for cancer patients without delay.
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