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24,842 breast cancer patients get P772-M PCSO aid in 2013

Manila, Philippines — Breast cancer and other forms of blood-related sickness are no stranger to the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), as it is aware that the incidence of breast cancer in the country is the “highest in Asia,” citing 2011 reports from the Department of Health (DOH) and the Philippine Cancer Society (PCS).

PCSO Chairperson Margarita P. Juico described this development on Saturday as “alarming,” saying that the dreaded disease hit closer to home. “I feel strongly about breast cancer prevention and treatment, especially since I lost one of my PCSO staff to breast cancer early last year,” said Juico.

She spoke at the mid-year convention of the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO) at a five-star hotel in Makati City on May 3, part of the group’s Novartis Oncology and Hematology Summit. Her speech on breast cancer came as the Philippines is a week away from celebrating Mother’s Day on May 11.

Juico laid down how the PCSO helped in fighting breast cancer in 2013. A total of P772,899,121.17 in assistance was provided for 24,842 patients by the PCSO last year for chemotherapy and cancer-related therapies, she said.

This was broken down into P700,360,588.17 for the chemotherapy of 22,356 patients; P72,538,533 went to 2,486 patients for their cobalt, radiotherapy, and brachetherapy, she said. She assured of the agency’s continuing support. “After all, charity is the reason for PCSO’s being,” she said.

Relatedly, the PCSO official, said the expensive cost of anti-cancer drugs has prompted the agency to negotiate with some of its medicine providers and suppliers to provide quality anti-cancer medicines at 20 percent less than current market price.

The PCSO Board chairperson noted that the country has not been successful in combating breast cancer in the country.

“Sadly, we have not reversed this trend since just last October last year, the PSMO asserted that we still have the highest incidence of breast cancer in the region,” she pointed out.

It means, Juico said, that “3 of 100 or 3 percent of women” is hit by breast cancer before reaching their 75th summer.

“Sadly, one of these women will likely die of it,” she lamented.

“This is a sobering fact, especially in the light that breast cancer is easily curable when and if detected early,” she added.

The PCSO chairperson further said that a website called World Life Expectancy, based on its analysis of data from the World Health Organization (WHO), revealed that of the top 50 causes of deaths in the country, 13 of them “is due to some form of cancer.”

A statistics, she said, that translates to “1 of 4 people” who is afflicted with any of the 50 causes of deaths in the Philippines will succumb to cancer.