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Cancer is Treatable Experts Say

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By Deedee M. Siytangco

ANGEL THOUGHTS

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intention of throwing it at someone else: you are the one who gets burned.— Buddhist proverb

Ordinary employees are crying “foul” over suggestions to raise ATM rates for interbank transactions. This will be another burden for us wage earners and a big boon to banks who will be earning more profits!

So why do it at all? Yes ,why?

***

Despair is almost synonymous to the word cancer. And given the breast cancer treatment landscape in the country, the expensive treatment costs alone, despair is an understatement.

Cancer in general is a brutal disease. To address this growing medical concern, Roche Philippines and the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO) are reinventing the treatment landscape by constantly pursuing innovations on medical solutions and patient welfare.

During the first-ever Breast Cancer Summit held at the Edsa Shangri-la, Roche Philippines and PSMO brought together esteemed speakers and doctors to preside on an overarching discussion about breast cancer treatment.

Case in point is Dr. Dennis Tudtud’s, 71-yearold, stage-four cancer patient from Cebu City. The patient was diagnosed with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. This type of breast cancer occurs when a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2—which enables rapid growth of cancer cells—develops.

The patient was able to seek innovative treatment through enrollment in the phase III of Roche’s randomized control trial called Cleopatra. According to the organization, this solution has proven to account for the continuous rise of survival rate among HER-2 positive breast cancer patients.

According to vice president of PSMO Dr. Bill Ramos, this success is held up by four key factors: “These include disease awareness, because disease and symptoms are essential for screening and early detection; healthcare capacity, since well-trained teams are needed to work together with the right equipment to provide the best chances for patients; diagnosis of the disease, as it can be complex, but is vital to ensuring the right treatment choice; and government intervention, since this is necessary to improve the provision of access and quality healthcare.”

But some might still contest that the revolutionized and innovative method of fighting breast cancer could further increase the already hefty treatment cost. The groundbreaking cancer law, also known as National Integrated Cancer Control Act, promises to cover financial protection in its provisions to minimize out-of-pocket expenses for Filipinos who will seek cancer treatment and medication. The vision of the law will give way to a more improved cancer care, which expectedly will bolster cancer survival rate by 2025.

Before the Breast Cancer Summit ended, it acknowledged the gaps in personalized healthcare in the Philippines, and it assured all that it would make deliberate efforts to bridge the gap and standardize the next generation of cancer care.

In my own family, two sisters have survived breast cancer—one with chemo treatments, the other with no radical interventions. We have been blessed.

***

Good news! Outstanding photo-journalist Mandy Navasero is conducting destination lectures in General Santos city, Sarangani, and Lake Sebu as a photographer’s mecca. It is open to tourists and non-photographers who will be able to take beautiful, breathtaking pictures of the sights in this pretty little peaceful corner in Mindanao.

General Santos is the country’s “tuna capital” and participants can watch as the fishermen unload tons of yellow fin tuna hauled, weighed, graded, sold, and shipped to fish markets all over the world. The group will dine “dampa” style feasting on fresh seafood.

Awe-inspiring, Lake Sebu combines the magnificence of nature and a well-preserved T’boli culture. The region’s Seven Falls is at its best, where participants go on an exhilarating zipline ride, considered the highest and longest in Southeast Asia, and seeing five of the seven majestic falls. There will be free zipline, rubber tubing, and individual photo at Lotus Pond in a T’boli costume for each participant in Lake Sebu, courtesy of Mayette Sy, a retired PAL purser. Mandy says that Mayette helps her organize her wonderful itinerary in the SOCCSKARGEN Photo Safari. Participants will immerse in the T’boli culture by visiting the SIKAT Cultural Center for tribal music and dances, and demonstrations of the art of weaving T’nalak fabric by weavers trained by master “dreamweaver,” National Artist Lang Dulay, who passed away few years back.

The group will visit Sarangani, and see the museum at the heritage house owned by Dr. Ruiz who also owns Sarangani Highlands. Sarangani boasts of a number of white sand beaches and dive spots.

In Tacurong, there is bird-watching at the Baras Sanctuary, where the sky turns literally black as the birds fly in to stay for the night. The pink mosque is part of the itinerary and everyone is requested to wear proper clothes, with ladies covering their heads.

Mandy hopes that this adventure-filled SOCCSKARGEN Photo Safari on Sept. 13-16 and Oct. 25-28, will help local tourists discover its unique destinations. A visit to two agritourism farms are included, timed also when all fruits in Mindanao are in season.

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