Cancer, which kills four Filipino daily, is now preventable and treatable owing to medical advances, cancer experts said.
“We can beat cancer. We acan save lives. We can do more if the budget is increased by Congress,” cancer specialist Dr. Marvin Mendoza asserted.
According to Mendoza, head of the cancer center at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the DOH’s P1-billion budget can only handle and potentially save only 200 people to complete the 18-month treatment cycle.
In other words, the bigger the budget for treatment, the fewer deaths there will be, he said.
Dr. Marigold Ferrolino, head of Rizal Medical Center (RMC) oncology department, and Dr. Antonio Alonzo, radiation oncologist, noted that modern medicines and equipment for free treatment of cancer are now available locally through the Department of Health (DOH).
The most common types of cancer are that of breast, lung and colorectum while breast cancer alone afflicts 21,000 women each year, Ferrolino said.
The latest data show that around 9,000 women die of breast cancer each year here and most are preventable if there are more funds to treat especially the poor patients.
“High incidence of detection” explains for the growing incidence of breast cancer, Ferrolino said, adding that it’s now easy to detect it, with the use of machine (mammography) or an expert touch of the breast.
“Early detection leads to early prevention”, Ferrolino said.
For treatment, Ferrolino said a doctor may prescribe injection/oral chemotherapy or radiation targeting the tumor/cancerous tissues.
The beauty of this modern drug is that it doesn’t cause falling hair or balding, Ferrolino said.
Alonzo, for his part, said that RMC utilizes high-tech equipment like the laser accurate X-rays, which have “minimal effects on patients.”
These are high-energy X-rays — the gold standard of modern machines — close to an AI (artificial intelligence) or robots to treat cancer patients, Alonzo said.
The cost of radiation treatment, Alonzo said, is ‘minimal’ at RMC although it ranges from P300,000 to P450,000 in private hospitals.
Alonzo clarified that the risk to a patient being afflicted with cancer because of radiation is “very minimal”.
Ferrolino added that plans are afoot to build a cancer “screening clinic” at RMC premises, which will serve as an all-in-one center.