According to experts, cancer is second only to cardiovascular diseases as a leading cause of death in the Philippines. And breast cancer – though associated as a female disease – is the cancer that strikes the most number of Filipinos, followed by colorectal, head and neck, cervical, prostate and lung cancers.
This is just partial data gathered from a hospital-based cancer registry system and does not yet present the whole picture. Dr. Beatrice J. Tiangco, co-founder and chief executive officer of Cancer Care Registry Philippines (CARE) said there were an estimated 141,021 new cancer cases in the Philippines in 2018, further divided into 79,019 for females and 62,002 for males based on a report by the Global Cancer Network or GLOBOCAN.
The rising incidence of cancer prompts groups like the Alliance for the Philippines’ Health and Advocacy (ALPHA) composed of CARE, Philam Foundation and the Philippine College of Physicians to strengthen their monitoring and reporting of cancer cases.There are significant benefits to be derived from an intensified recording and documentation of cases . These are: to influence public health policies and initiatives in patient care. The data gathered can also aid in drug development and epidemiological research activities, Dr. Tiangco noted.
Photo shows (from left) : Max Ventura- President, Philam Foundation; Bernadette Chincuanco- Head of Branding and Communications, Philam Life; Dra Beatrice J Tiangco, Co-founder, President & CEO CARE Philippines Foundation; and Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go of the Philippine College of Physicians.
Philam Foundation’s Mr. Ventura pointed out that with the implementation of the National Integrated Cancer Control law (RA 11215), all hospitals and clinics are required to have their own cancer registry.
He added that CARE presently gathers data from 20 member-hospitals around the country, with some local government units having their own-population-based registries as well.However, everyone expects more robust data to be shared as all clinics and medical institutions comply with the new law’s requirement for everyone to put up their own cancer registry in the coming years.
“Our hope is that we get a clearer picture of the cancer situation in the country and help Filipino cancer patients in their journey to have better access to medical support and assistance. Philam Foundation will continue to work with CARE, through the ALPHA consortium in the quest to have better care for cancer patients. We also hope that the data gathered will prevent or reduce the incidence of cancer, helping Filipinos live healthier, longer and better lives,” Ventura added.