Cancer can be a serious financial burden on anyone because of the exorbitant costs of treatment and medication. This burden is particularly devastating for patients of lower incomes, who cannot afford treatment at private hospitals. To help make cancer treatment more affordable for poorer patients, a variety of non-governmental organizations have established clinics throughout Malaysia. These cancer centers offer screening, treatment, and information to thousands of people who would not ordinarily have access to these services.
Through generous donations, the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) was able to partner with the Tung Shin Hospital to provide timely treatment to those in need. Dr. Saunthari Somasundaram, NCSM president and medical director, identified their goal is “to provide affordable cancer treatment to patients to ease their burden”.
Though the center trained and employed private doctors and staff, they were able to have access to the hospital’s pharmacy, wards, and medical equipment. The center was able to charge 50%-70% less for radiotherapy, a commonly used cancer treatment that uses radiation to kill malignant cells and shrink tumors.
Though the center at Tung Shin Hospital stopped operating in October, NCSM has continued to provide treatment and support through their other centers throughout the country. Its Cancer and Health Screening clinic provides screening services as well as support, like counseling and education; while the NCSM Nuclear Medicine Center provides nuclear medicine imaging, a diagnostic tool that can provide valuable information about the spread of cancer to organs and bones prior to surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Another medical center trying to alleviate the financial strain of a cancer diagnosis is Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Centre-Makna Cancer Centre. A collaborative effort between the National Cancer Council Malaysia (Makna) and UKM Medical Center (UKMMC), the center allows patients access to the best treatment facilities regardless financial situation. Makna has allocated more than two million dollars to assist patients with other costs often associated with treatment, such as travel, monthly financial assistance, and non-formulary medication. While, any fees paid by patients get funneled back into the program, the center is reliant on donations and fundraisers, like Klimb for Kanser.
The Pride Foundation is a non-governmental organization that has also established a donation funded clinic for breast cancer examination. The clinic does not offer clinical treatments; however, it provides free clinical breast examinations by trained staff. The foundation also provides educational and empowerment programs, along with financial assistance.
Like these programs, Fifth Season Financial was founded to relieve financial worry for advanced stage cancer patients. While the cost of treatment may be daunting, our cancer loan program can provide the freedom to be worry-free.
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