Materia Medica Malaysiana

November 18, 2008

Liow: Acute shortage of cancer specialists

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:06 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Up to 40,000 new cancer cases are diagnosed in the country every year, but there are only 39 oncologists (cancer specialist doctors) to treat them.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said Malaysia should ideally have eight oncologists per million population.
“With about 26 million people, we need about 200 oncologists,” he said after officiating the first Asia Pacific Conference on Health Policy and Planning here.
Of the 39 oncologists in the country, 10 are serving in public hospitals. They attend to more than half the cancer patients in the country.
Liow said the ministry would try to get more doctors trained in oncology.
“We are also considering employing oncologists from other countries to work here.”
He said the country has only 21 radiotherapy and oncology centres, with six run by the government. The ministry will build a National Cancer Institute in Putrajaya, which will be a tertiary and national referral centre for cancer, in the manner Institut Jantung Negara is for heart disease.
At the conference themed “In an Era of Emerging Technology and Cancer”, Liow announced a seven-year national cancer management blueprint, which would streamline and rationalise the fight against cancer.
“Through the blueprint, our vision is that by 2025, cancer will no longer be a public health problem in Malaysia.
“All preventable cancers, effectively prevented; all potential curable cancers, cured.”
He said the blueprint would address and improve the key areas of cancer management: prevention, screening and early detection, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, palliative care, traditional and complementary medicine, human capital development, facilities, equipment, drugs and funding.

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