Brachytherapy cost in Malaysia

Treatment and Cost

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About the Brachytherapy

Brachytherapy is an advanced form of radiation therapy. It is also known as internal radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is a type of cancer treatment in which ionizing radiation is used to destroy cancer cells and shrink the size of the tumors. The conventional form of radiation therapy is external beam radiation that projects radiation from a machine outside of the body. In case of internal radiation or brachytherapy, radioactive particles or sources that are internally placed in or next to the tumour site, are used to destroy cancer cells. Brachytherapy helps deliver a high radiation dose to the tumor, with minimal exposure to the surrounding healthy tissues.It thus allows delivering high doses of radiation to more-specific areas of the body.

Brachytherapy can be used for effective treatment of cervical, prostate, breast, skin, lung, head and neck, and gum cancer, in addition to tumors located in other parts of the body. Brachytherapy for prostate cancer is a commonly performed procedure. It is also used for the treatment of gum cancer as well. Brachytherapy is an alternative treatment for gum cancer and is conducted who are unfit to undergo a surgery or do not need one.

Brachytherapy can be completed in less time than other conventional radiotherapy techniques. Brachytherapy for prostate cancer and other cancers is often performed on an outpatient basis and patients typically have to take fewer brachytherapy sessions, as compared to external radiotherapy treatment for cancer. This makes brachytherapy more accessible and convenient to many patients. Most of the patients are able to tolerate brachytherapy very well with fewer side effects.

Types of Brachytherapy

There are two types of brachytherapy treatment:

  • Temporary brachytherapy:

    In this method, highly radioactive particles are placed in a catheter or slender tube for a specific amount of time and then withdrawn. Temporary brachytherapy can be administered at either low-dose rate (LDR) or high-dose-rate (HDR).

  • Permanent brachytherapy:

    In this method, a radioactive seed or pellet is implanted in or near the tumor and left there permanently. After a period of several months, the radioactivity level of the implanted seed eventually diminishes to nothing.

How is Brachytherapy performed?

Brachytherapy treatment plan is created and governed by a radiation oncologist, who is a highly trained physician specializing in treating cancer with radiotherapy. The radiation oncologist will require a team, including a medical physicist, dosimetrist, radiation therapist, radiation therapy nurse and in some cases, a surgeon to conduct the procedure. However, the radiation oncologist is the one who evaluates the patient and determines the appropriate therapy, including how much radiation to deliver.

In permanent brachytherapy, needles that are pre-filled with the radioactive brachytherapy seeds are inserted into the tumor. Then the needle or device is removed, leaving the radioactive seeds behind. Sometimes these seeds may be implanted in sessions using a device that inserts them individually at regular intervals. An appropriate imaging means such as an ultrasound, X-ray, MRI or CT scan may be used to assist the physician in positioning brachytherapy seeds at the right place. After implantation, some additional imaging can be done to verify seed placement.

Temporary brachytherapy starts with placing a delivery device, such as a catheter, needle, or applicator, into the tumor. Methods of imaging such as an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan will help position the radiation sources correctly. The delivery device can either be inserted into a body cavity such as vagina (intracavitary brachytherapy) or applicators such as needles or catheters can be inserted into body tissues (interstitial brachytherapy). Device implantation will depend on the location of cancer.

Radiation using brachytherapy procedure can be delivered at three different levels:

  • High-dose-rate (HDR):

    HDR brachytherapy is given for over 10 to 20 minutes per session, but it can take several hours worth of preparation, which includes device placement. HDR brachytherapy is mostly conducted as an outpatient procedure, although sometimes patients are admitted for one to two days to have several HDR brachytherapy sessions using the same applicator.

    HDR brachytherapy delivers a specified dose of radiation to the tumor in a short burst using a remote-afterloading machine. This will help protect the patient from unnecessary exposure to radiation. This procedure can be repeated a couple of times on the same day.
  • Low-dose rate (LDR):

    LDR is delivered at a continuous rate of radiation for over 20 to 50 minutes. The patient needs overnight hospitalization so the delivery device can remain in place throughout the treatment. The radiation oncologist may insert the radioactive particle manually through the delivery device and remove the material and delivery device after the treatment.

  • Pulsed dose-rate (PDR):

    PDR brachytherapy is delivered in a similar way of LDR, but the treatment takes place in periodic pulses instead of continuous radiation. 

Recovery from Brachytherapy

For patients who have received brachytherapy for prostate cancer or any other types of cancer, limiting physical activity for at least three to five days is important. You can experience some level of grogginess after the procedure, however, it will last for only a few hours. You will be prescribed a few emergency medicines that you can take in case you experience pain or any other type of discomfort.

There are some side effects associated with all kinds of radiation therapy. However, the acute, sub-acute, or long-term side effects of brachytherapy depend on the location of the tumor being treated and the type of brachytherapy being used.

Some acute side effects of brachytherapy are

  • Localized bruising,
  • Bleeding, swelling,
  • Fatigue and discomfort within the implanted region.

But these are temporary side effects and usually resolve within a few days following completion of treatment.

Usually, brachytherapy does not cause any long-term side effects, but in a few cases, it may cause urinary and digestive problems. But in that case as well, long-term side effects are usually mild or moderate in nature and there are many palliative medicines that are available to cope with the symptoms.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the factors affecting the cost of Brachytherapy in Malaysia?

The cost of Brachytherapy in Malaysia may differ from one medical facility to the other. The top hospitals for Brachytherapy in Malaysia covers all the expenses related to the pre-surgery investigations of the candidate. The Brachytherapy cost in Malaysia includes the cost of anesthesia, medicines, hospitalization and the surgeon's fee. Stay outside the package duration, post-operative complications and diagnosis of a new condition may further increase the Brachytherapy cost in Malaysia.

Which are some of the best hospitals in Malaysia for Brachytherapyt?

There are many hospitals that perform Brachytherapy in Malaysia. For quick reference, the following are some of the leading hospitals for Brachytherapy in Malaysia:

  1. Parkway Pantai
How many days does it take to recover post Brachytherapy in Malaysia?

After Brachytherapy in Malaysia, the patient is supposed to stay in guest house for another 21 days. During this time, the patient undergoes medical tests and consultations. this is to ensure that the treatment was successful and the patient us safe to return.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Brachytherapy?

Malaysia is one of the most popular countries for Brachytherapy in the world. The country offers the best cost of Brachytherapy, best doctors, and advanced hospital infrastructure. Some of the other destinations that are popular for Brachytherapy include the following:

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 800
IsraelUSD 22500
SpainUSD 24000
ThailandUSD 4500
TurkeyUSD 4000
United Arab EmiratesUSD 6000
How much are the other expenses in Malaysia apart from the cost of Brachytherapy?

Apart from the Brachytherapy cost, the patient may have to pay for additional daily expenses such as for guest house after discharge and meals. The extra charges may start from USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in Malaysia for Brachytherapy Procedure?

The following are some of the best cities for Brachytherapy in Malaysia:

  1. Kuala Lumpur
How many days does one have to spend in the hospital for Brachytherapy in Malaysia?

After the Brachytherapy takes place, the average duration of stay at the hospital is about 1 days. During the recovery, the patient is carefully monitored and control tests are performed to see that everything is okay. If required, physiotherapy sessions are also planned during recovery in hospital.

How many hospitals offer Brachytherapy in Malaysia?

There are more than 1 hospitals that offer Brachytherapy in Malaysia. The above mentioned hospitals have the required infrastructure and a dedicated unit where patients can be treated. Additionally, these hospitals are known to comply with the international standards as well as local legal requirements for the treatment of patients.

FAQ's Related to Malaysia

Which are the popular multispecialty hospital groups in Malaysia?

Some of the leading hospital groups in Malaysia are:

  1. Beverly Wilshire Medical Group, Kuala Lumpur;
  2. Parkway Pantai, Kuala Lumpur;
  3. Gleneagles Hospital, Kuala Lumpur and,
  4. KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital, Ampang.

These hospitals are more focused on providing quality treatment and are supported by the latest medical technologies and excellent infrastructure. The Malaysian government extends large support to hospitals through boosting investments in medical infrastructure. The hospitals in Malaysia have shown tremendous improvements in the last ten years and are now on par with well-developed countries, having both well-trained staff and excellent hospital facilities.

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in Malaysia?

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in Malaysia? Presently, there are 12 JCI-accredited hospitals in Malaysia and all of them ensure that they meet global standards. MSQH is focusing on strengthening the quality of healthcare by partnering with Malaysia’s Ministry of Health, Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia and Malaysian Medical Association. The process of receiving healthcare accreditation in Malaysia is very stringent and the hospitals are strictly evaluated on quality parameters.

Why should I opt for healthcare in Malaysia?

An emerging global giant in medical tourism, Malaysia has one of the most strong healthcare systems in the world supported by solid governmental participation in the market and public-private healthcare collaboration. The quality of healthcare in Malaysia is at par with most developed countries due to its cutting-edge technology, advanced infrastructure, and skilled medical professionals. Malaysia has achieved high success rates in fertility treatments and cardiology with world-class hospitals. Malaysia has a rich culture and several heritage spots which make it one of the most popular medical tourism destinations in the world.

What is the quality of doctors in Malaysia?

Most of the highly-trained doctors in Malaysia are trained internationally before returning to work in their home country. Malaysia has a very stringent evaluation process for doctor’s certification and all medical professionals have to complete three years of service in the public sector to ensure they have achieved an extreme level of professionalism. Doctors in Malaysia have received worldwide recognition for their high success rates in IVF and cardiac procedures. Medical tourists under Malaysian Healthcare Travellers Program (MHTP) are eligible for applying for eVISA for traveling to Malaysia and living in the country for a period of 30 days.

How to obtain a medical visa for Malaysia?

Malaysia offers all medical tourists the facility of applying for eVisa for traveling to the country for treatment and reside there for a period of 30 days. A person can get eVisa through online platforms and its validity expires in 3 months. A candidate would require below things to apply for an eVisa.

  1. Medical certificate issued by the registered medical practitioner
  2. Two recent passport size photographs
  3. Valid passport
  4. Details of the person travelling
  5. Two blank pages on the passport
  6. Travelling and accommodation details
  7. Civil status certificate

Two attendants who are close relatives are allowed to accompany the applicant under separate Medical Attendant Visas.

What are the popular procedures available in Malaysia?

Some of the most popular treatments available in Malaysia include cosmetic surgery, dental work, vitiligo treatment, cancer care, discectomy, prostate surgery. Cancer treatment through gene therapy is becoming popular in Malaysia as this novel technique guarantees reduced treatment costs, shorter treatment time, minimal adverse effects of current chemo-drugs. Fertility hospitals and clinics have reported high success rates in IFV due to a number of reasons like the use of the latest technology, trained experts, adherence to strict protocols and safety standards, and a holistic treatment approach. Malaysia has highly trained orthopedic doctors who have reported high success rates in procedures like shoulder replacement, knee replacement surgery, and hip replacement.

Which are the most popular cities in Malaysia for medical treatments?

The cities in Malaysia that attract a large number of medical tourists are:

  1. Malacca,
  2. Kuala Lumpur,
  3. Kota Kinabalu,
  4. Ampang, and
  5. Penang.

These cities have world-class hospitals with superior infrastructure and highly trained hospitals, all these contributing to an amazing patient experience. Both Penang and Kuala Lumpur are the centres of attraction for medical tourists as they are serviced by airlines from around the world; have a number of reasonably-priced hotel rooms and an excellent public transportation system. Some other reasons why these cities have become the world’s epicenter of medical tourism are a large number of quality hospitals, rich culture, scenic value, and availability of translators, and safety of tourists.

Is it mandatory to take vaccinations before going to Malaysia?

A medical tourist traveling to Malaysia needs to get below vaccines:

  1. Rabies
  2. Meningitis
  3. Covid
  4. Hepatitis A,
  5. Japanese encephalitis
  6. Hepatitis B,
  7. Typhoid
  8. Yellow fever
  9. Polio
  10. Measles

Pre-exposure vaccination against rabies is recommended before travel to Malaysia and children are at greater risk of rabies. Make sure you get vaccinated for Japanese encephalitis before you travel to Malaysia because this is a common disease there. If you are coming from a country with a high risk of Yellow Fever, you might need an International Certificate of Vaccination.