The Senate on Monday approved the third and final reading of the law, which seeks to institutionalize a national integrated cancer control program in the country.
Senate no. 1850, or the proposed "National Integrated Cancer Control Law", under the auspices of Sen. Joseph Victor "JV" Ejercito, was approved with 18 positive votes, with no negative votes and no restraint.
Ejercito, chair of the Senate Health and Democracy Committee, said the measure sought to address various disadvantages in cancer protection and to integrate policies and programs to prevent, detect, diagnose, cure and palliative care, pain management and survival or end of life,
"Through national legislation on integrated cancer surveillance, we can provide cancer patients with choices, we can give them hope that we will have a decent and convenient treatment of cancer and care especially for the non-privileged and marginalized Philippines," said Ejercito.
Citing government records, Ejercito pointed out that cancer was the third leading cause of adult deaths in the Philippines and the fourth in the morbidity of children.
According to the legislator, the Ministry of Health (DOH) estimates up to eight deaths a day for childhood cancer and up to 11 new cases and seven deaths per hour for adult cancer. It counts on the figure of about 110,000 new cancer cases and more than 66,000 cancer deaths each year.
He said a recent study conducted by the International Cancer Research Agency (IARC) also showed that the mortality rate among the poor was quite high.
The IARC study has attributed a large number of deaths in cancer patients to poor health systems, limited access to quality caring for cancer, and partly to late diagnosis of common cancer.
"Undeniably, cancer has become a global threat to health, and the rate of incidence is rising. The study estimates that more than 6.7 million people developed the disease in 2012 and that this growth will almost 60 percent be translated into more than 10.8 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the next 14 years, "said Ejercito.
Sen. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, a co-sponsor of the measure, praised the Senate's approval for the measure, as cancer spreads the Filipino family into deeper poverty.
Angara mentions a study conducted by the George Institute of Global Health, who said that out of 908 patients who participated in the Filipino research, most had economic difficulties.
"The associated costs of screening and treatment are catastrophic. Imposing economic burdens is overwhelming," Angara said in his sponsoring speech.
"This law will establish a National Integrated Cancer Control Council whose only focus is on implementing a program that will not only provide comprehensive, accessible and affordable cancer treatments for all cancer patients, but will also work to reduce the incidence of cases that can be prevented" , he added. he stressed.
The law also seeks to expand the PhilHealth Benefit Benefit Package to include screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment, care, survival and care, all types and stages of cancer in adults and children.
Angara said that PhilHealth currently has packages that provide treatments for leukemia, breast cancer and prostate cancer, but they are limited and reportedly account for only about 11 percent of total health expenditures.
After being signed into law, all healthcare organizations (HMOs) should cover genetic counseling and testing, screening cancer, diagnostic and palliative care.
According to the bill's proposal, the absences due to the workload of employee members, as well as volunteer members, cover and compensate the health care benefits of SSS and GSIS disability benefits.
The law also mandates DOH in co-operation with other interested agencies – to encourage non-privileged and marginalized people living with cancer to undergo the necessary treatment and care.
The law also provides for the establishment of the Filipino Cancer Center (PCC), under the supervision and supervision of the University of the Philippines – the General Hospital of the Philippines (UP-PGH), for the treatment and placement of cancer patients.
The PCC also launches research, in collaboration with other universities, hospitals and institutions, for the prevention and treatment of cancer. The law also envisages the creation of regional cancer centers across the country for the treatment and care of cancer patients.
The Center will also undertake and support the training of doctors, nurses, medical technicians, pharmacists, healthcare workers and social workers on good practice models to provide sensitive, multidisciplinary and integrated cancer services.
The measure also calls for the establishment of the Fund for Fighting Cancer Support to support a cancer and healing program. The fund will provide ongoing supply to patients with cancer drugs and cancer vaccines.