Kuala Lumpur, 29 April 2022 — During today’s launch of the “Oncology Summit: Meeting the promise of cancer care in Malaysia”, Deputy Health Minister II Yang Berhormat Datuk Aaron Ago Dagang in his keynote speech highlighted the challenge of addressing the gap in Malaysia’s cancer care and treatment services.
Approximately 49,000 people in Malaysia were estimated to be newly diagnosed with cancer in 2020, and this is expected to rise to more than 66,000 new cases annually by 2030.
The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the vulnerability of cancer patients to the pandemic with increased mortality amongst those who were positive. YB Datuk Aaron emphasised the urgency to make long-term commitments to cancer care which prevent the higher cancer mortality due to later-stage diagnoses in the months and years to come.
“Lives continue to be lost to cancer, especially in East Malaysia where related services are far and few.”
Cancer is still one of the leading causes of premature death in the country. Most cancer patients are diagnosed late at Stages 3 and 4. According to one study, 1 in 7 Malaysians are now estimated to develop cancer before reaching 75 years of age.
YB Datuk Aaron emphasised that the task of delivering and closing the gap on cancer care was not solely the responsibility and burden of the Government. “We need to work together,” he said.
He highlighted the need for stronger accountability mechanisms for cancer care and to forge stronger collaborations through public-private partnership frameworks to drive greater cooperation and collaboration between stakeholders.
“One size doesn’t fit all, and every challenge demands a different solution.”
The Deputy Minister highlighted that Malaysia needed to close the cancer care gap to ensure that the country is able to achieve the health targets under SDG 3 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“Increasing investments in cancer care is not about spending more to treat a disease. It is about saving lives.” emphasised YB Datuk Aaron.
The 2-day hybrid event “Oncology Summit: Meeting the promise of cancer care in Malaysia” from 29 – 30 April 2022 brings together more than 200 patients, patient advocacy groups, caregivers, oncologists, researchers to discuss issues related to cancer care in Malaysia. These include access to timely and effective treatments, and surviving cancer. The conference is organised by the Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy and Takeda Malaysia.
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