GEORGE TOWN: Malaysia needs more oncologists to ensure that cancer patients receive adequate treatment as the government has recognised cancer as a crucial health concern among Malaysians.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad said his ministry was committed to implementing control and prevention strategies in reducing incidence, mortality and improving cancer survival, but the country only had 115 oncologists currently.
“The government is aware of the need for more qualified oncologists in the country as cancer is the fourth most common cause of death in Malaysia with approximately 37,000 cases reported each year.
“If the Malaysian population is 34 million, the current ratio stands at 3.4 oncologists per one million people which is critically very low compared to an ideal ratio of eight to 10 oncologists per million people,” he said at the opening of the Second AMDI International Oncology and Medical Physics Symposium. here, today.
Dr Dzulkefly said only five oncologists were added from last year and this was not encouraging.
“Of these 115 oncologists, 42 are in government hospitals which include the university hospitals, while the remaining 73 work in the private sector.
“Advancement in cancer treatment needs to be supported by an adequate number of specialists in this field. In order to achieve the numbers, training programmes for oncologists must be at the forefront,” he said.
Dr Dzulkefly, therefore, hoped that Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and its Advanced Medical and Dental Institute (AMDI) could progress further and provide training in clinical oncology, radiotherapy and related fields.
“I was told AMDI, USM has established an oncology and radiotherapy centre in Bertam, Kepala Batas, the only radiotherapy centre under a public institution in northern Peninsular Malaysia, and has been actively involved in the treatment, teaching, training and research in oncology and radiotherapy since 2015,” he said.
Earlier, AMDI inked a memorandum of agreement with the Christie NHS Foundation Trust, to work in providing more oncology courses towards producing more oncologists in future. – Bernama