KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Media OutReach – 21 October 2022 – Globally, breast cancer is the second most common type of non-melanoma cancer, after lung cancer, and the fifth most common cause of cancer death. In Malaysia, it is also the most common cancer nationwide. In conjunction with the theme of this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Malaysia is set to reinforce its prowess as a Cancer Care Centre of Excellence in the region.
Since its first cancer treatment centre opened its doors in 1981, Malaysia has achieved international recognition for its quality of care. Recently, the country was proclaimed second in the care and delivery of cancer treatment in the Asia Pacific and the third-most prepared country overall by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Time is of essence when it comes to cancer treatments. This is an especially important consideration for healthcare travellers. The good news is that the healthcare establishments in Malaysia are committed to providing seamless and efficient oncology care.
“Our Breast Care Centre, which is a one-stop centre for screening, diagnosis and treatment, is able to provide the diagnosis within 48 hours. In fact, here, you can get everything you need under one roof – from imaging and mammograms to treatments – in a very short span of time,” said Dr. Patricia Alison Gomez, a Consultant Breast Surgeon at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur, before citing intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) as a relatively recent development that can shorten the treatment time significantly.
This will be more convenient for the cancer patients, as instead of having to wait for a month or possibly longer, they can complete their treatment in just 10 to 14 days.
According to Dr. Teoh Mei Shi, a Breast, Endocrine and General Surgeon at Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre, “IORT is a revolutionary radiotherapy system that is used for the treatment of early-stage breast cancer for select cases. As the name suggests, this is actually a radiation therapy that is administered simultaneously during the tumour removal surgery. The benefit of IORT is that just a single therapy dose is needed, whereas the conventional external beam radiotherapy method requires three to five weeks.”
An integral part in ensuring seamless oncology care is the synergy of a multidisciplinary team that prioritises the wellbeing of the patient.
“At Subang Jaya Medical Centre, we have a team of specialists, ranging from breast surgeons and oncologists to radiologists and pathologists, lined up, in addition to treatment modalities and investigative tools to treat breast cancer at every stage. We even have specialised breast care nurses to help patients understand their treatment, recovery and rehabilitation phases. Tumour board meetings are held regularly to discuss cases and reach a collective decision on patient management,” shared Dr. Daphne Anthonysamy, the Consultant Breast and Endocrine Surgeon there.
With advancements in oncology treatments, the side-effects have been significantly reduced. “Take chemotherapy, for example. Today, we can offer a wide range of treatments to limit side effects. In fact, most patients experience minimal nausea or vomiting nowadays. Beyond that, there are also scalp cooling treatments to prevent hair fall and certain cold treatments that can protect nerves from chemotherapy damage. Therefore, most patients are able to complete chemotherapy and go back to living a full life,” explained Dr. Kiley Loh, a Consultant Medical Oncologist at Penang Adventist Hospital.
With a vast range of oncology services that include ground-breaking imaging and cancer detection technologies on offer, Malaysia Healthcare is moving forward steadily as the Cancer Care Centre of Excellence. This is further reinforced by the country’s excellent healthcare system, which makes it easier for healthcare travellers to obtain comprehensive cancer care promptly in a safe and trusted destination.