Society proposes aid for cancer patients

Fatimah (third right) speaks during the press conference while (from left) Chen, Sew, Adibah, Rashidah and Dayang Mariani look on.

KUCHING: Society for Cancer Advocacy and Awareness (Scan) is proposing the state government to provide financial aid for cancer patients.

Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development (KWKPK) Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the society must first come up with the proposal draft in accordance with the ministry’s standard operating procedure (SOP).

“The proposal must include the target group, types of assistance, the cost breakdown, the subsidy rates and others, before forwarding it to the ministry.

“The ministry will then evaluate the appropriate subsidy before bringing it up to the state Cabinet by March,” she told a press conference held at Baitulmakmur 2 building here on Monday (Feb 15).

She further said the proposal was a good initiative to reduce the cancer patients’ cost burden, especially those from low-income group during their treatment period.

Additionally, the proposed aid will become a channel for those in need to seek cancer treatment and improve the overall cancer treatment outcomes in the state.

At the same time, breast cancer surgeon and specialist Dr Adibah Ali stated that the National Cancer Registry 2012-2016 reported there were a total of 10,297 patients diagnosed with cancers in Sarawak. Of these, 70 percent are from low-income groups.

“Cancer patients in the state often face problems such as logistics, loss of income and non-subsidised treatment cost.

“These barriers lead to an increased rate of advanced-stage presentation during initial diagnosis and defaulters while receiving treatment.

“Therefore, with the aid, we can at least ease the burden of cancer patients and lower the rate of defaulters in the state,” she said.

The highest cases of cancer involve breast cancer followed by cervix, lung, prostate, nasopharynx, ovary, colon, stomach, rectum and liver.

Amongst those present were the ministry’s permanent secretary Dr Rashidah Bolhassan, the ministry’s Early Childhood Development Division chief Salina Bujang, Scan advisor Datin Dayang Mariani, president Sew Boon Lui and secretary Chris Chen.