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Friday, July 19, 2024

Filipinos urged to take cancer tests; cases may rise due to aging population

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The Philippine College of Surgeons Cancer Commission (PCS CanCom) Foundation encouraged the public to undergo cancer screening tests as early detection remains vital to achieving higher survival among patients.  

“For the majority of cancers when diagnosed early, they’re curable, so cancer can be curable when diagnosed early,” said PCS CanCom chairperson Manuel Francisco Roxas in a recent forum organized for the National Cancer Awareness month.

Roxas, who is also medical director of the Ayala-owned Healthway Cancer Care Hospital, raised concern that cancer is the third leading cause of death among Filipinos and is projected to rise due to the country’s aging population.

Data from the PCS Cancer Foundation revealed that 85 percent of those who develop cancer are due to aging or unhealthy lifestyle and the remaining 15 percent are genetic or hereditary.

In view of this, the government plans to implement a program focusing on cancer screening and prevention, according to Roxas citing an information from Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Teodoro Herbosa.

“If the government’s screening program is good for the population of all healthy Filipinos, we will pick up cancer early, and hopefully, late-stage cancer will decrease, (resulting in) better survivors and less cost for expensive treatment,” said Roxas, a surgeon and specialist on colorectal cancer.

PCS CanCom is also looking forward to the construction of the Philippine Cancer Center (PCC), which “will focus on the less common” types of cancers. “For the more common cancers, the DOH hospitals with cancer centers will be more than ready to take care of them,” Roxas said. 

The PCC is reportedly going to be established along East Avenue in Quezon City as mandated by the Philippine National Integrated Cancer Control Act, which was signed into law in February 2019. It includes wide-ranging provisions covering the development of national and regional cancer centers.

Currently, the country has 35 designated cancer control centers.

As part of the ongoing efforts to raise public awareness about cancer, PCS CanCom together with the DOH, Cancer Coalition Philippines (CCPh), and the Philippine Cancer Society are convening a Philippine Cancer Summit this year from Feb. 29 to Mar. 1, 2024.

The event will provide free cancer screening examinations at Novotel in Quezon City, where mobile buses will be deployed to facilitate the tests.

A fun run was also held on Sunday, Feb. 11, at the CCP Complex. This gave participants an opportunity to avail free cancer screenings for breast, cervix, prostate, and thyroid. Education materials were also distributed for the screening, diagnosis, and management of the different types of cancers.

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