November 29, 2016

Hope From Within - A Lung Cancer Awareness

It's kind of sad but I have to admit that cancer runs in our blood. I've lost cousins due to breast cancer, and an uncle to lung cancer. That is why it is my advocacy to promote and help talks and events about any type of cancer awareness.

Last week at Diamond Hotel, Merck had a talk Hope From Within - A Lung Cancer Awareness. Hope From Within is envisioned to bring together key stakeholders in patient support not just for lung cancer patients but eventually, for patients of other malignancies where immunotherapy will eventually be applicable.

“We entitled our advocacy ‘Hope From Within’ because truly, getting well and overcoming any disease starts with optimism from the patient,” explains Dr. Beaver Tamesis, managing director of MSD in the Philippines. 

Dr. Veaver Tamesis, MSD President and Managing Director, welcome remarks for Hope from Within Media Conference

“As with any other type of malignancy, patient support that addresses physical, mental and emotional well-being is vital.  Stakeholders that contribute to this holistic support system start with immediate family and community members, extending to friends and even co-workers. Social integration, positive emotional support and physical care are just some of the needs that these primary stakeholders provide to patients. The government may also play an important role in terms of providing potential financial assistance especially for patients in marginalized sectors of society, toward an otherwise costly treatment regimen. We have found that financial cost of treating cancer is actually the most pressing burden of the disease”, according to Maria Fatima “Girlie” Garcia-Lorenzo, president of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO).

Maria Fatima “Girlie” Garcia-Lorenzo, president of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO)
 In the Philippines, lung cancer similarly remains to be one of the top malignancies that cause death among Filipinos. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 lives are lost to the disease every year. According to the Department of Health (DOH), smoking accounts for as much as 85 percent of lung cancer deaths in the country. However, while it has been long held that smoking is the highest risk factor for developing lung cancer, the disease has also been occurring substantially among non-smokers. 

Most importantly, it is the patient’s doctor who plays a key role in the support system—first providing the diagnosis and prognosis, and prescribing the best treatment options to manage and even hopefully overcome the disease.

Dr. Jorge Ignacio, Chairman, UP-PGH Cancer Institute

For patients with lung cancer in particular, recent developments in medicine have provided a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Immunotherapy has already proven to be a successful first-line treatment for lung cancer, specifically the most common non-small-cell type, and this means not having to face the side effects brought about by the therapeutic standard of chemotherapy. Immunotherapy or biologic therapy involves innovative medicine that slows or stops cancer cells from growing, thereby preventing it from spreading to other areas of the body. It also strengthens the body’s immune system to help it work better in destroying these cancer cells. With such life-changing promise of immunotherapy, global immuno-oncology clinical development leader MSD in the Philippines has spearheaded a movement to provide renewed hope for lung cancer sufferers—that there is a cure for their condition. “With the innovation of immunotherapy and its initial success in battling diseases such as lung cancer, we are helping hundreds of thousands of cancer patients face their condition better and be inspired that yes, there is hope for a cure,” adds Dr. Corazon Ngelangel, president of the Philippine Cancer Society.

Maria Fatima “Girlie” Garcia-Lorenzo, president of the Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations (PAPO), Dr. Jorge Ignacio, Chairman, UP-PGH Cancer Institute, Dr. Veaver Tamesis, MSD President and Managing Directo, Dr. Corazon Ngekangel, President Phil. Cancer Society and Dr. Butch Recto, Med Arts Director, MSD, 

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