Government to review charge for cancer treatment

Feb 4, 2017
The charge for cancer patients is being reviewed by the Health Ministry. Photo from NST Online
The charge for cancer patients is being reviewed by the Health Ministry. Photo from NST Online

The Health Ministry is reviewing the charge imposed on cancer patients in government hospitals which offer cancer treatment, Deputy Health Director-General (Medical) S. Jeyaindran said today.

He said the review would take into account the burden on the people, especially the bottom 40 per cent income group (B40), those with disabilities OKU) and senior citizens.

“The charge imposed at government hospitals is very minimum and fully subsidised, that is almost free, compared to private hospitals which charged between and tens of thousands of ringgit depending on the type of treatment and seriousness of the disease.

“There are patients who are referred from a private hospital to a government hospital and they are willing to pay, but there is no fee structure for this kind of treatment,” he told reporters after the 2017 Fun Walk programmes organised by the National Cancer Institute in Putrajaya today.

He said the charge to be imposed on this category of patients would not burden them and would be about 20 per cent of the actual cost of cancer treatment.

As for the less affordable patients, like B40, OKU and the senior citizens, Jeyaindran said they could refer to the ministry’s welfare officers at the hospital concerned to request to be exempted from paying for the treatment.

He said there were currently six reference hospitals for cancer treatment, namely, the National Cancer Institute, Kuala Lumpur Hospital, Penang Hospital, Sultan Ismail Hospital in Johor Bahru, Sarawak General Hospital and Likas Hospital in Kota Kinabalu.

A total of 1,300 people, including former cancer patients, took part in the five kilometre Fun Walk programme, which aimed to enhance awareness among the public on the dangers of cancer and the need to get early treatment.

Jeyaindran expressed concern that most cancer patients were late in seeking treatment, hence the high treatment cost.

He said while breast cancer was common among women, cancer of the lung was common among men, especially the cigarette smokers.

He said various programmes were carried out by the government to reduce the risk of cancer among the people and they included giving Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination to prevent cancer of the cervix among female students.

On those seeking traditional treatment for cancer, he said traditional medicine practitioners were required to be registered under the Traditional and Complementary Medicine Act to practice.

At the National Cancer Institute, there is also acupuncture treatment and use of Chinese traditional herbs to treat side-effects from cancer treatment,” he added. –Bernama

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