Cancer has been one of the deadliest diseases that has been ever roamed the Earth. Until now, no exact cure is given. In fact, if you aren’t aware, cancer is the second leading cause of death not just here in the Philippines but globally as well, the first one being heart disease. According to the report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), just in the year 2016, there were 60,740 deaths recorded under the term “neoplasms” (new and abnormal growth of tissue in some parts of the body) – or more known as cancer.
Right now, there are millions of people out there fighting, and have the hopes that one day, there would be a remedy to the said disease. The government is also trying to do their best to end the sufferings of cancer patients which is why with their efforts, the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) has been created.
So what is the National Integrated Cancer Control Act?
February 19, 2019 – a Republic Act was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte establishing a national framework to fight cancer, it is known as Republic Act (R.A) 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act.
The goals of the said law is to create a nationwide program to reduce the incidence of cancer in the country and create treatments and cure for the said disease that are affordable and efficient to patients.
Good news because the government has now acknowledged the pain of those going through the said disease. Even a small step counts for big things like this. Although currently, plans are still being set out, this law also targets appropriate funding for the program seeking to help those financially in need suffering from cancer.
Who would be leading the establishment and planning of the program?
With the said law being established, there should be a branch or certain branches who would be monitoring the plans and executing them to make sure that there are movements in the said program. Hence they created the National Integrated Cancer Control Council. This specific council is tasked to create a national cancer control road map, which will create annual plans, targets, priorities, and strategies for the program both in the national and local health care systems to fight the disease.
The council would still be attached to the Department of Health (DOH) and it is composed of secretaries from different branches of the government (Secretaries of DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of the Interior and Local Government).
Also included in the council would be the President of PhilHealth (Philippine Health Insurance Corporation), the Director General of the FDA (Food and Drug Aministration), as well as two (2) medical doctors and three (3) delegates from different cancer advocacy groups.
It’s good that the government chose to include the president of Philhealth to help see what they can do in terms of financially helping others, then having those who work in the fields hands-on to get suggestion on what are things that can be that they see the patients need and spreading out word of the law/program.
Another thing that is this law establishes is the Philippine Cancer Center. It would still fall under the DOH and the center would provide accommodation, facilities and medical treatment for those patients suffering from cancer. The center would also conduct research on ways to prevent cancer, treatment and possible cures for the disease.
Are there specific targets or plan already?
As of now, neither the government nor the council has given any word about any plans or target that they have, but as per the law, the month of February would now be known as “National Cancer Awareness Month” to helps spread information about cancer, what could cause it and how to avoid it.
Well, cancer is really a serious matter. If you are one of those people fighting it, never lose hope. If you have been diagnosed, always make sure to see a doctor to get medical advice and learn to live healthy. Always avoid those that are bad for your health to help your body stronger. Yes, there is no absolute cure for the cancer but there are lots of people who have survived and continuous to live a happy life.