MOH, Hospital Tuanku Jaafar to establish new Pink Ribbon Centre for breast cancer patients

IN a significant move towards closing the care gap and improving the survival rates among breast cancer patients, the Health Ministry (MOH), represented by Hospital Tuanku Jaafar (HTJ), has announced the renewal of the collaborative work and plans to upgrade the Pink Ribbon Centre to a new space.

The development of the new Pink Ribbon Centre (PRC) will expand its capacity to be a one-stop centre, providing patient-centred care to newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients through a highly competent, dedicated team comprising members from both MOH and Cancer Research Malaysia (CRMY).

Breast cancer, though increasingly curable, presents a daunting challenge for patients, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Despite subsidised treatments available at MOH hospitals, the financial burden of non-medical costs, and coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming.

“Even though breast cancer is one of the most curable cancers, sadly, improvements in survival have made a greater impact among high-income patients compared to those with low income,” acknowledged MOH lead person in hospital-based navigation Datuk Dr Imi Sairi Ab Hadi.

“Through the partnership with CRMY, we hope to address this gap and serve more lower-income breast cancer patients through the Patient Navigation Programme.”

To reaffirm their commitment to this vital cause, an official MOU-signing ceremony took place at HTJ. Dignitaries present included, among others, CRMY chairman Tunku Ali Redhauddin ibni Tuanku Muhriz, TJH director Datuk Dr Zaleha Md Noor, Dr Imi Sairi, and CRMY chief scientific officer Professor Datin Paduka Dr Teo Soo Hwang.

“The establishment of the PRC at Hospital Tuanku Jaafar has led to a significant rise in the number of breast cancer patients with an annual increase to 180 to 185 patients,” said Dr Zaleha in her speech.

“This increase can be attributed to the awareness campaigns and discussions about PRC that have been conducted in health clinics since 2019. As a result, the PRC at our hospital now receives referral cases from all corners of Negri Sembilan at an accelerated pace.”

Meanwhile, CRMY Board of Trustees chairman Tunku Ali noted that while the country’s scientists have led important studies in Asian breast cancer patients which have enabled Malaysians to access new treatment options, there is still a “very significant gap” in breast cancer survival rates based on socio-economic status.

“As such, we are working with MOH through research programmes such as our patient navigation programme, which is aimed at improving survival rates as well as quality of life for lower income patients,” he added. – Oct 10, 2023

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