Chemotherapy cost in Malaysia

Treatment and Cost

21

Total Days
In Country

2 No. Travelers

1 Day in Hospital

20 Days Outside Hospital

Treatment cost starts from

USD 1800

Hospitals

About the Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is a category of standardized drug administration of various types for the treatment of cancer. With a curative intent, some combinations of drugs are administered to a patient to prolong their life and also to bring about a reduction in the symptoms shown by the patient. Chemotherapy treatment is considered to be one of the major categories of medical oncology. Many people around the world are prescribed to undergo chemotherapy treatment instead of undergoing a surgical procedure. But many are frightened with the side effects of this treatment as it is believed to reduce the quality of life of the patients.

What is chemotherapy?

Chemotherapy is a procedure where non-specific intracellular poisons are used, which are specifically related to preventing the process of mitosis or the natural cell division of the cancerous cells. This technique rather excludes those agents that are responsible for selective extracellular growth signal blockade (signal transduction blockers). If spoken about these agents used in chemotherapy, it has been found that most of them are cytotoxic in nature due to their property of interfering with natural mitosis. However, the cells of cancer can differ widely in terms of showing susceptibility to these administered agents.

Chemotherapy can be defined as a way of mass destruction of stress cells, which would eventually lead to the death of the cells when apoptosis is initiated. The commonly known side effects of chemotherapy can be traced back to the process of damaging normal non-cancerous cells, which are in the process of rapid division. They are sensitive to anti-mitotic drugs that are being administered to the patient and such cells may include the cells of the hair follicles, digestive tract lining, and bone marrow. But nowadays treatment options have undergone a lot of modification by which these side effects can be well countered.

Types of Chemotherapy Drugs

Various options of drugs are available to treat different types of cancer including the following:

Alkylating agents: These kinds of agents prove to be extremely beneficial during the cell’s resting phase. The various kinds of alkylating agents that are employed in chemotherapy treatment include the following:

  • Mustard gas derivatives: Cyclophosphamide, mechlorethamine, chlorambucil, ifosfamide, melphalan
  • Ethylenimines: Thiotepa and hexamethylmelamine
  • Alkylsulfonates: Busulfan
  • Metal salts: Oxaliplatin, cisplatin, and carboplatin
  • Nitrosoureas: Streptozocin, lomustine, carmustine

Nitrosoureas are unique from the rest for choices in chemotherapy treatment due to their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and treating tumors of the brain.

Plant alkaloids: Plant alkaloids employed for chemotherapy treatment are derived from plants.  These include vinca alkaloids, taxanes, podophyllotoxins, and camptothecan analogs. The plant alkaloids are cell cycle specific agents, which enables them to attack the dividing cells in various stages of their division cycle.

Antimetabolites: This kind of chemotherapy treatment involves substances that are similar in composition to the normal substances present in the cell. When these substances get incorporated in the process of cellular metabolism, then the cell is no longer able to divide. They are also cell cycle specific and can be classified further according to the substance in the cell with which they interfere.

Topoisomerase inhibitors: When the topoisomerase enzymes in the body ( topoisomerase I and II) are inhibited as a result of chemotherapy drugs, then those drugs are referred to as topoisomerase inhibitors. During the chemotherapy, the topoisomerase enzymes are responsible for controlling structural manipulation of the DNA which is necessary for the purpose of replication.

Miscellaneous antineoplastics: Different types of drugs make each chemotherapy treatment process unique. Enzymes, retinoids, adrenocortical steroid inhibitor, ribonucleotide reductase inhibitor or antimicrotubule agents can be used as chemotherapy drugs.

How is Chemotherapy performed?

Some of the chemotherapy drugs are involved in damaging the cell at the time of splitting while others do their jobs when the gene copies are being made by the cell prior to division. The cells that are in resting phase are very less likely to get damaged. Different kind of drugs damage the cells at different stages and hence a combination of various drugs will increase the chance of damaging more number of cancer cells.

Chemotherapy drugs can be given in a variety of ways. At times due to the destructive nature of stomach enzymes, some of the drugs are impossible to administer as pills. While for other drugs the effects are better realized when administered intravenously. Some of them can be injected into muscles while other can be given directly to the abdominal cavity and bladder directly.

Ways to administer Chemotherapy Medications 

Oral chemo medications:

They are administered orally and are available in various forms such as liquids, tablets, capsules, and pill. All these forms can be absorbed by the stomach or under the tongue. The protective coating around them is broken down by digestive juices of the stomach and then the medication is directly absorbed by the lining of the stomach. There are some which have a certain amount of time delay between the administration and the actual release of the medicine.

Subcutaneous injection:

With the help of a short needle, the drug is administered into the region between the muscle and skin but it does not penetrate as far as the layer of muscles. They are used for some biologic response modifiers and support drugs of chemotherapy. If the platelet count of the patient is low, then it is less likely that such injections can cause any bleeding more than that in case if it was an intra muscular injection.

Intramuscular chemo injections:

In this case, the injection penetrates the muscle layer and a large needle has to be used for this so that the medication gets deposited in the tissues of the muscle. Most chemotherapy cannot be implemented via intramuscular injection owing to its harshness. People with low platelet counts are not advised with this due to the possibility of bleeding within the muscle.

Intravenous chemo treatments:

This also gets absorbed rapidly in the circulation system in the body. It offers more flexibility, thus making it more common. Continuous infusions are ensured through this method for days and weeks if required. Some of the types of intravenous infusions include the following:

  • Angiocatheter:  A line is established in the arm or hand and infusions can be continued for few minutes to few days.
  • PICC line:  It is considered temporary but the stretch can continue for 6 weeks to a few months. The long plastic catheter is placed in one of the larger veins of the arm. It can be done by fixing it with a portable pump even at home.
  • Non-tunnelled catheters:  Through the skin, the sub clavian or the jugular vein is accessed and the line goes through the superior vena cava to the right atrium of the heart. They are used as short-term option during emergencies. Careful maintenance and regular dressing change are required in these cases.
  • Tunneled catheters:  This catheter goes through the middle of the chest, going past the subcutaneous tissue reaching the superior vena cava vessel entering the right atrium of the heart. They can be even left for years with little chances of infection. They can have multiple lumens for infusions and good for extensive therapy like the bone marrow transplant procedure.
  • Port-a-cath:  Chemo port or Port-a-cath act as a permanent option. It is usually placed by a surgeon or a radiologist. The lifetime of this can vary from three to five years. Dressing changes are not required but maintenance may be required for this at home.
Intraventricular chemo treatments:

In this procedure, the drugs are meant to reach the cerebrospinal fluid. The blood-brain barrier stops many drugs to reach it and hence in two ways it can be done; one is the lumbar puncture and the other is Ommaya reservoir. A dome-shaped device with a catheter attached is placed in the subcutaneous layer on the scalp. It is threaded to the lateral ventricle of the brain. A small needle is placed through the ommaya reservoir to inject drugs. This is good for chemotherapy for leukemia.

Intraperitoneal chemo treatment:

In this case, the drug can be directly drained into the abdominal cavity, the general cavity surrounding the organs. The organs, as a result, get bathed in the medication before it gets absorbed into the tumor site.

Intra arterial chemo treatments

Here the drug is given directly to the artery supplying blood to a tumor. This kind of treatment is beneficial for colon cancer, limb melanoma, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, and some other forms of cancer.

Intravesicular chemo treatments:

A urinary catheter is used to access the urinary bladder and useful for people suffering from superficially invasive bladder cancer.

Intrapleural chemo treatments:

This is the chemotherapy for lung cancer where the drug is administered in the pleural cavity to control malignant pleural effusions and used for symptom relief.

Implantable chemotherapy treatment

A gliadel wafer can be placed in the cavity after removal of tumor in the brain. It can be left for 2 or 3 weeks to ensure that all cancer cells are finally killed in the area surrounding the brain tumor site.

Topical chemo treatments:

In this case, a cream is applied to the skin and used to treat cancerous lesions on the skin itself. Not used very commonly but used for treating skin cancer.

Recovery from Chemotherapy

  • For patients who can tolerate a high dose of drugs, chemotherapy cycle is carried out in a single go after every three weeks.
  • For patients who are not expected to tolerate a high dose of drugs, the same cycle is split into two or three light doses, which are administered at an interval of a week.
  • The platelet and white blood cells count may drop after each cycle of chemotherapy, which usually recovers on its own if proper diet is maintained. Some patients may experience loss of appetite. It is important for them and all other patients to take plenty of fluids and plain water to recover after chemotherapy. This will reduce fatigue, weakness, and joint pain while restoring the platelet and WBC count.
  • Patients are advised to take the emergency medicine prescribed by the doctor in case they experience pain, vomiting, nausea, or general sickness. Inform the specialist immediately in case of any adverse reactions.

Patient Stories

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Chemotherapy cost in Malaysia?

Chemotherapy cost in Malaysia starts from about $1800. Chemotherapy in Malaysia is conducted across several MSQH certified hospitals.

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

Different hospitals have different pricing policy when it comes to the cost of Chemotherapy in Malaysia. There are many hospital that cover the cost of pre-surgical investigations of the patient in the treatment package. The comprehensive Chemotherapy package cost includes the cost of investigations, surgery, medicines and consumables. A prolonged hospital stay due to delayed recovery, new diagnosis and complications after surgery may increase the cost of Chemotherapy in Malaysia.

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

Chemotherapy in Malaysia is offered by multiple hospitals across the country. For quick reference, the following are some of the leading hospitals for Chemotherapy in Malaysia:

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

After Chemotherapy in Malaysia, the patient is supposed to stay in guest house for another 21 days. This duration of stay is recommended to complete all the necessary follow-ups and control tests to ensure that the surgery was successful.

Which are some of the other popular destinations for Chemotherapy?

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

CountryCost
IndiaUSD 500
IsraelUSD 7000
MalaysiaUSD 1800
SingaporeUSD 1500
SpainUSD 7500
ThailandUSD 2500
TurkeyUSD 1250
United Arab EmiratesUSD 4200
How much are the other expenses in Malaysia apart from the cost of Chemotherapy?

Apart from the cost of Chemotherapy, the patient is also required to pay additionally for daily meals and guest house accommodation. The per day cost in this case may start from USD 50 per person.

Which are the best cities in Malaysia for Chemotherapy Procedure?

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

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

The average duration of stay at the hospital after Chemotherapy is about 1 days for proper care and monitoring. The patient is subjected to several biochemistry and radiological scans to see that everything is okay and the recovery is on track. After making sure that patient is clinically stable, discharge is planned.

How many hospitals offer Chemotherapy in Malaysia?

There are more than 1 hospitals that offer Chemotherapy in Malaysia. The above listed clinics are approved to perform the surgery and have proper infrastructure to handle Chemotherapy patients. 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?

Malaysia has many reputed hospital groups, such as:

  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 supported by the latest medical technologies and superior infrastructure, ensuring world-class treatment. With a two-tier healthcare system in Malaysia, the hospitals are highly advanced because of extensive support from the Malaysian government through investment in medical infrastructure. At par with most of the well-developed countries, the hospitals in Malaysia have outperformed in the last ten years with the help of well-trained staff and excellent facilities.

What healthcare accreditation standards are followed in Malaysia?

The hospitals in Malaysia follow the healthcare standards set by Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) and JCI. Total 12 hospitals in Malaysia have JCI certification and each of them complies with the global standards. MSQH has recently partnered with Malaysia’s Ministry of Health, Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia and the Malaysian Medical Association, to work together on raising the standards of healthcare in Malaysia. There is a lengthy evaluation process for granting accreditation to a hospital in order to ensure international standards are met.

Why should I opt for healthcare in Malaysia?

Malaysia is an emerging destination for medical tourism and has an effective healthcare system backed by governmental participation and public-private healthcare collaboration. Malaysia has received worldwide recognition for its excellent healthcare system mainly attributed to advanced technology, modern infrastructure, and highly trained medical professionals. With world-class hospitals, Malaysia has made great achievements in the field of IVF and cardiology. Malaysia is also popular among medical tourists because of its food, cultural diversity, and heritage spots.

What is the quality of doctors in Malaysia?

The high-quality doctors in Malaysia have global exposure which makes them efficient in treating various conditions. Producing one of the finest doctors in the world, Malaysia has a strict evaluation system in place to ensure that the country has quality doctors with a high level of professionalism. Doctors in Malaysia have received worldwide recognition for their high success rates in IVF and cardiac procedures. 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.

How to obtain a medical visa for Malaysia?

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. A person can get eVisa through online platforms and its validity expires in 3 months. You need to provide the following things to obtain 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

Maximum two persons can accompany the patient under separate Medical Attendant Visas and their visa validity will be the same as Medical Visa.

What are the popular procedures available in Malaysia?

The popular procedures available in Malaysia are cosmetic surgery, vitiligo treatment, cancer care, dental work, discectomy, prostate surgery. Malaysia has reached a great height in cancer treatment through gene therapy which has many benefits, such as minimal adverse effects of current chemo-drugs, shorter treatment time, and reduced treatment costs. Malaysia uses modern technology and follows best practices to perform Assisted Reproductive Technique procedures like IVF, which has a success rate of 55 to 60. 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?

Some of the leading medical tourism destinations in Malaysia are:

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

Backed by world-class hospitals with highly professional and talented hospitals and modern infrastructure, Malaysia delivers unmatched treatment. A large number of medical tourists visit Kuala Lumpur and Penang every year because of several reasons like the availability of reasonably-priced hotel rooms, better transportation systems, and connectivity through airlines. These cities are most preferred by medical tourists because of many other reasons like a large number of hospitals, rich culture, scenic value, 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

Before traveling to Malaysia, it is suggested to get pre-exposure vaccination against rabies. Also, children are more at more risk. Japanese encephalitis is common in Malaysia and can be prevented through vaccination. International Certificate of Vaccination would be required if you are coming from a country with a high risk of Yellow Fever.

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