Senators on Thursday ratified the Bicameral Conference report on the cancer control bill that will establish a national framework to combat the dreaded disease.
The report is the reconciled and consolidated version of Senate Bill No. 1850 titled “National Integrated Cancer Control Act,” co-authored and sponsored by reelectionist Senator JV Ejercito, and House Bill No. 8636.
“If enacted into law, the National Integrated Cancer Control Act will give hope to every Filipino who suffered long enough battling cancer on their own that they will have an equitable and affordable cancer treatment and care especially for the underprivileged and marginalized Filipinos,” Ejercito said.
The measure seeks to establish the National Integrated Cancer Control Program aimed at lessening deaths from and incidence of preventable cancer in adults and children, preventing cancer recurrence and secondary cancer among survivors and people living with cancer, making cancer treatment and care affordable and accessible, and supporting the recovery and reintegration to society of cancer survivors, among others.
“It will address the various gaps in the cancer care continuum and integrated solutions for every single step, from prevention, detection, correct diagnosis, treatment and palliative care, pain management, and survivorship or end of life.
Under the bill, a National Integrated Cancer Advisory Council shall be created tasked to develop the National Cancer Control roadmap for the effective institutionalization of integrated cancer control strategies, policies, programs and service in the national and local health care system.
The council will develop, update, and promote evidence-based treatment standards and guidelines and innovative and cost-effective cancer care models for adult and children cancer.
“Our vision is a patient centric support system that is caring, supportive, within a progressive and enabling environment so that Filipinos affected with cancer can live with dignity, enjoying long, productive, and meaningful lives,” he said.
In the Philippines, cancer is the third leading cause of adult death and fourth in child mortality.
The Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates of the Department of Health revealed an alarming increase in the incidence of cancer estimating up to 8 deaths per day for childhood cancer and up to 11 new cases and 7 deaths every hour for adult cancer.
There are approximately 110,000 new cancer cases and over 66,000 cancer deaths each year.
“Alarmingly, those diagnosed with the disease that came from the poor sector of the society have high mortality rate. It is expected that this is attributable mainly to the weak health systems, limited access to quality cancer care and partly to the late diagnoses of common cancers,” Ejercito said.