PETALING JAYA, April 9 — For many people living with cancer, financial hardship is a struggle that is all too familiar.
A study by the Asean Costs in Oncology (Action) showed that over 75 per cent of cancer patients in Southeast Asia experience death or financial catastrophe just one year after getting diagnosed.
In light of this statistic, Nilai Medical Centre (Nilai Medical) in Negri Sembilan has partnered with Roche Malaysia to launch the NMCares Targeted Therapy Welfare Programme to provide financial aid to HER2-positive breast cancer patients.
The programme will be carried out via Roche Cares, a tripartite co-payment model which allows patients to access targeted therapy at a subsidised cost, making it possible for eligible patients to save up more than half of their treatment costs.
HER2-positive cancer is an aggressive type of breast cancer that grows and multiplies rapidly and it affects one in five breast cancer patients worldwide.
It was traditionally associated with poor prognosis but HER2-targeted therapy treatment has changed the outlook for the disease.
With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing unprecedented challenges across the board for everyone, the NMCares Targeted Therapy Welfare Programme aims to ease one of the many worries faced by financially-challenged breast cancer patients.
Nilai Medical’s partnership with Roche Malaysia complements its overall Cancer Assistance Programme (NMCares) which was launched in July 2020 in collaboration with the National Cancer Society Malaysia.
A total of RM8 million was allocated for the programme to be distributed over five years to help cancer patients access life-saving treatment.
Deputy health minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali commended the partnership between Nilai Medical and Roche Malaysia as it provides peace of mind for breast cancer patients who wouldn’t have been able to afford proper care otherwise.
The programme will also be a big help with alleviating the congestion of patients seeking treatment at public hospitals.
“The ministry has embarked on public-private partnerships during the Covid-19 pandemic to reduce the congestion at government hospitals.
“We hope to continue strengthening such partnerships in cancer care to ensure the continuity of patients’ treatment,” said Dr Noor Azmi in a press release.
The virtual launch of the NMCares Targeted Therapy Welfare Programme took place yesterday with Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh, Roche Malaysia general manager Lance Duan, and Nilai Medical chief executive officer Jasmine Lau in attendance.
Lau said that approximately 40 cancer patients have received financial assistance through NMCares with a majority of the subsidised treatments comprising radiotherapy.
“Now, through the collaboration with Roche Malaysia, NMCares is in a position to specifically help women battling HER2-positive breast cancer.
“Every cancer patient we can help is a treasured milestone. We are mindful that each person is someone’s spouse, child, sibling, loved family member, or friend.
“Numbers are certainly not the only measurement of ‘success,’ as what matters more is that we can extend love, care and support and show them that they are not alone in this journey,” said Lau in a press release.
Lau noted that the NMCares Targeted Therapy Welfare Programme is open to Malaysian cancer patients who are experiencing difficulties with covering the costs of their treatment.
There will be a dedicated team who will conduct assessments and background checks on each applicant to ensure they are eligible to receive aid under the programme.
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