Dire need for National Cancer Fund – Port Klang MP Charles Santiago

KLANG, Oct 27 – There is a dire need for a National Cancer Fund, says Member of Parliament for Port Klang, Charles Santiago.

In a recent press statement, Charles pointed out the worsening quality of life for cancer patients.

He said that while Oct 31st marked the end of breast cancer awareness month, it did not signal the end of challenges for breast cancer patients 

“It doesn’t end financial toxicity, the cost of screening and treatment, worsening quality of life or cancer-related stress. It’s really not about throwing statistics around to frighten the government. I have consistently done that over years now. 

“But time to hold the Malaysian government accountable for right to life, access to affordable treatment and medicines and ensure no woman ends up in financial destitution for choosing to take care of herself,” he said.

Pointing out the need for a National Cancer Fund in next year’s budget, he stressed that the government will however need the political will to get this done.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer and accounted for 34.1% of all cancer among females in Malaysia. 

“A total of 21,634 cases of female breast cancer were diagnosed for the period of 2012-2016 compared with 18,206 cases in 2007-2011.”

According to the George Institute for Global Health, 51% who spent 30 percent of annual household income related to cancer care, will be pushed into financial catastrophe after a year from diagnosis.

The same report says that the “financial toxicity” from spending on cancer care caused them to skip medical appointments and avoid buying drugs they could not afford.

This will become worse due to Covid-19 as poverty is associated with higher cancer rates, cancer risk factors such as obesity plus lack of access to cancer screening and treatment. 

In Malaysia 580,000 households have slipped into the B40 economic category from being middle class due to Covid-19. And JobStreet estimates two million Malaysians would end up unemployed.