KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Health (MOH) is looking to expand cancer treatment centres across the country to ensure equitable access to high-quality cancer treatment and palliative care for patients.

Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said most cancer treatment centres were currently located in major cities, especially in the Klang Valley, which forced cancer patients from small towns to travel a significant distance to receive treatment.

“If we look at it from a cost-effective point of view, it is (better) to build cancer treatment centres that are closer to the patients,“ she said after launching ‘Against all odds - A Tribute’ here today.

She said the ministry recognised the need to enhance the capacity and capabilities of healthcare facilities in the country, particularly in the field of oncology, which includes investing in advanced technologies, and training healthcare professionals.

“I must stress that addressing the complex challenges of cancer requires a collective effort. We need the active participation of healthcare professionals, civil society, private sector and individuals themselves to create a comprehensive and coordinated response,” she said.

During her opening speech, she extended her heartfelt congratulations to all cancer survivors as well as her gratitude to all healthcare professionals for their tireless efforts and unwavering dedication to the well-being of cancer patients.

Meanwhile, commenting on the government’s action towards the finding of more than 43,000 school students smoking cigarettes, Dr Zaliha said the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Bill 2022 will be tabled in Parliament next week as a means to prevent the smoking culture.

She added that the Health White Paper would be tabled in Parliament on June 13. -BERNAMA