PETALING JAYA: The health ministry is already assisting cancer patients through programmes and treatment at government hospitals, including offering 95% subsidies for treatment.
Its deputy minister Dr Lee Boon Chye added that it had also established the Tabung Bantuan Kebajikan to assist cancer patients to get funding.
He was responding to a call by Klang MP Charles Santiago for Putrajaya to set up a National Cancer Fund to help survivors deal with the high cost of treatment.
Santiago had said there was an urgent need for the fund as it could become nearly impossible for patients to continue employment after the disease turned chronic.
He said even patients receiving treatment in government hospitals had to bear the high cost of prescribed medicines.
Lee said: “We do appreciate calls to set up such a fund to assist cancer patients. Perhaps we can get the support of the private sector to fund this. The private sector should take the initiative as well.”
Speaking to FMT, Lee acknowledged that cancer was becoming common due to the ageing society and that its treatment was expensive.
He urged Malaysians to take precautions and have early screenings. “One thing we notice is that cancer cases in the country are detected at late stages, and that is why it is necessary for early detection.
“We (government) have been encouraging people to have themselves checked early. The awareness has to be cultivated. There is a perception, a fear of cancer treatment, so that may be why people do not want to have early detection.”