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In PH, cancer is the third-leading cause of mortality.

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Lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers and is currently the third most common cause of death in the country.

According to the president of the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology, Dr. Rosario Pitargue, there are 184 cancer cases diagnosed in every 100,000 patients, and 96 cancer-related fatalities are reported daily.

During a press conference on the margins of the National Cancer Summit on Friday, she stated that lung cancer would be the leading cause of death, followed by liver, breast, colon, and prostate.

Ralph Degollacion, a co-convener of Healthy Pilipinas, claimed that the environment, which includes smoking, drinking alcohol, eating poorly, and not exercising, contributes to the development of cancer.

Vice President of the Cancer Coalition Philippines Carmen Auste noted that there are obstacles to a cancer diagnosis that originate from the patients themselves, the medical community, and the government.

We’re afraid to have ourselves checked because we believe we lack the necessary cash, she added. “Natatakot tayo magpa-check up dahil ang pakiramdam po kadalasan wala kaming pangtustos diyan.”

She said that both individuals and medical professionals are unaware of the symptoms and indicators of cancer.

Moreover, there is a need to upgrade the referral process from rural health units to hospitals.

Pitargue clarified that survivorship includes the health and well-being of cancer patients from the time of diagnosis through the course of treatment and beyond, or until the end of life, citing the fact that cancer is no longer a “death sentence.”


The National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) Act, also known as Republic Act No. 11215 and signed in February 2019, intends to advance cancer control initiatives, enhance cancer survivorship, and lessen the burden on cancer patients.

The law was written with assistance from medical societies, professional organizations, and civil society, including cooperation from members of cancer patient support organizations affiliated with Cancer Coalition Philippines.

Teodoro Padilla, executive director of the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines, stressed that the law aids Filipino cancer patients in extending and improving the quality of their lives.

He revealed that, in addition to government-supported chemotherapy, there are now tailored treatments for various types of cancer.

The challenge is getting them approved here in the country, and this is where the help of patient groups comes in, the doctor said. “Working with the coalition, we have found various medications to prolong life available in the markets,” he added.

We’ve really created a scheme where member companies give people access to different cancer-relieving treatments so that the condition doesn’t become terminal.

The first of the twelve promises made by the NICCA law is that cancer patients, cancer survivors, and people who are currently battling the disease will all be given the same rights and privileges as PWDs.

“We have patients who have already received their PWD IDs, so it’s a big help because they have a 20 percent discount when buying medicines,” Auste said. “Meron na po tayong mga pasiyente natin nakakuha na po ng PWD ID, so malaking tulong po iyon dahil may 20 percent discount na po sa pagbili ng gamot.”

“Yung pangalawang medyo nararamdaman na po, nag-designate na po ng 18 cancer centers sa buong Pilipinas at meron na pong mga na-budget-an, meron na pong natatapos na at dahil po doon ay gumaganda na po ang lebel ng serbisyo (

The law also promises that institutionalized cancer policies and programs will create a supportive environment, that the Cancer Assistance Fund will provide financial aid, that PhilHealth will increase benefits for cancer patients, that policies, plans, and programs will be developed and recommended to control the spread of cancer and lessen the suffering experienced by cancer patients and their families, and that the Philippine Cancer Center, a center of excellence in cancer care, will be established.

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