Curing cancer with care and technology
While advances in medical science have greatly helped improve the efficacy of cancer treatment, science has also shown that beating cancer is by no means purely a technological endeavor. Genuine compassion and heartfelt care are essentials to cancer survival. It is with these insights in mind that the new Cancer Care Center at ManilaMed was designed from top to bottom.
“One of the newer features of the Cancer Care Center which we are trying to introduce is the concept of the multi-disciplinary team approach in the management of Cancer,” says Cancer Care Center head medical oncologist Dr. Dennis Sacdalan. “We bring people from different disciplines, different specialties together in one setting, and they’re there to discuss a patient so that all aspects of the patient’s treatment can be covered.”
Dr. Liangco, also an oncologist at the center explains, “When a patient is treated for cancer, there is a tendency for the treatment to be disjointed, especially if the patient is seeing many doctors like a surgeon, a pain specialist, etc. There is a tendency for some of the data to get lost in translation, some time to be lost, and for things to be inefficient in general.”
He continues, “That is one of the reasons why we are coming up with a multi-disciplinary team approach for cancer, the efficacy of the MDT approach is supported by studies.”
Aside from its novel approach, the Cancer Care Center at ManilaMed will have only the best hardware in the country. The centerpiece of the Cancer Care Center is a state-of-the-art Linear Accelerator (LINAC) provided by the Philippine Oncology Center Corporation.
LINAC is a radiation therapy machine that utilizes focused radiation to kill cancer cells. In many cases radiation is a less drastic and less invasive option than surgery.
“Unlike older technologies, the medical LINAC machine can zero in on a tumor and minimize the damage to healthy tissue,” explains head Medical Physicist Raquel Santecera.
According to chief of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Vicente Hizon, “The model of LINAC at ManilaMed is the most advanced in the Philippines. It is one of only three similar machines in the whole country, and in Metro Manila, only Medical City has a comparable machine.”
Dr. Hizon and Raquel go on to explain that the most advanced feature of this LINAC is Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy. When older LINACs have to move from angle to angle, delivery of radiation is stopped so that the beam can conform to the two-dimensional shape of the tumor from the new perspective, the model in ManilaMed can adjust the beam on the fly while continually delivering radiation.
“Accuracy in position and the accuracy of the dose are both very much improved. Because of this, survival, local tumor control and the side effects produced by the radiation treatment are better,” explains Dr. Hizon.
The final piece of the puzzle though is heart. “Aside from having a team of doctors, we also hope to introduce other aspects of cancer care. Part of the multi-disciplinary team approach is to provide psycho-social support, even spiritual support. Pastoral care will be part and parcel of the multi-disciplinary management of patients,” shares Dr. Sacdalan.
He adds, “For patients who may not be cured of their cancer for a long time, we have a palliative care team that will be able to take care of these patients even outside the hospital.”
Call (02) 523-8121 local 2647 or go to manilamed.com.ph for more information.