Iv Malene, deputy director of Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital in Phnom Penh, is facing challenging yet fulfilling future, with over 100 children with leukaemia currently under its watchful care.

But that’s just the beginning, as the hospital has plans to offer paediatric cancer treatment soon.

Malene recently shared some insights with The Post about the history of leukaemia treatment at Kantha Bopha Hospitals. Since 2003, the institution has been a hub for this specialised care.

“At Kantha Bopha Hospital in Phnom Penh, our team of doctors is currently overseeing the care of more than 100 children with leukaemia,” she said.

The journey began with the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, and by mid-2023, other types such as acute myeloid leukaemia and chronic myeloid leukaemia have been addressed.

“Simultaneously, we are providing treatment for numerous other patients across various medical conditions,” she added.

The future looks promising, with Malene outlining the hospital’s plans to broaden its services to include various forms of childhood cancer.

“In the foreseeable future, Kantha Bopha Hospital will provide treatment for children with different types of cancer. Our team of doctors is prepared to address any form of childhood cancer that may arise,” she said.

Leukaemia is the most common cancer in children aged between 2 and 14. It includes different subtypes, and expert studies suggest that most lymphoma cases in children are treatable.

Malene acknowledges that the exact cause of leukaemia is still unknown, but she highlights several contributing factors which may include genetic predisposition, environmental conditions, hygiene, diet or exposure to specific cancer-causing viruses.

Potential triggers for cancer have also been identified in radiation and certain chemicals found in food.

Malene mentioned common symptoms of leukaemia such as fever, enlarged lymph nodes, anaemia, loss of appetite, and unexplained bleeding or bruising on the body.

Founded by Beat Richner in 1992, Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospital has become a vital healthcare provider, with several branches in the capital and Siem Reap province. The weekly cost averages $840,000, exceeding $40 million annually, but the hospital offers its services free of charge across its five branches, without discrimination.