Sunday 15th Feb 2004

70% Cure Rate Among Malaysian
Children With Cancer

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 (Bernama) -- Malaysia has achieved an average of more than 70 per cent cure rate among children with all types of cancer who are treated at an early stage, Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said.
He said this rate was on par with those of developed countries, and in some cases, the cure rate was as high as 90 per cent.
'The good news that we want people to know is that childhood cancer can be cured if we can get them early. If the parents and children cooperate during the treatment regimes, then the cure rate is high.
'Generally the cure rate in Malaysia now is 70 per cent completely cured compared with 20 to 30 per cent among adults,' he told a media conference after launching a parent's guidebook on Children with Cancer, here.
Chua said that once cured, these children could go on with their life as normal persons and have families of their own.
He said that although the cancer rate among children in peninsular Malaysia for the past 10 years had increased 150 per cent, the important thing for parents was to ensure tat their sick child went for the early treatment.
'Leukaemia or blood cancers constitute half of those chilhood cancers, and then, for boys, cancer of the brain is the second highest and the second highest for girls is eye cancer,' he said.
Chua said there were now three cancer treatment centres dedicated to treating children in the country. One is the Paediatric Centre in the Kuala Lumpur and the others are Ipoh and Kuching.
'We are planning to upgrade four more treatment facilities in the next few years, namely in Penang, Johor Bahru, Kota Baharu and Kota Kinabalu, for this purpose.'
As for specialists, he said there were now 13 paediatric haematologist-oncologists, five of whom are with the ministry, six in the universities and two in the private sector.
The ministry also planned to propose the setting up of a National Cancer Institute under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"