Cervical cancer survivor to PBBM: ‘Recognize the cancer burden; help the Filipinas’

Cervical cancer survivor to PBBM: ‘Recognize the cancer burden; help the Filipinas’

/ 01:59 PM February 13, 2024

This Cancer Awareness month, a cervical cancer survivor is reaching out to the President. 

On behalf of the thousand Filipinas who fell victim of cervical cancer, Reggie Mutia Lambo Drilon, President of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) – Cancer Survivors Organization wrote President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. an open letter to bring into his attention the dire condition of the Filipinas battling this disease. 

Dinggin nyo po sana ang aming hinaing, bigyan po sana ninyo ng importansya ang sakit na cancer upang maiwasang dumami pa ang kababaihan na magkaroon nito o kaya’y lumala pa ang karamdaman (Please hear our plea, and give importance to cancer so that we prevent more women from contracting the disease, or from experiencing worsened symptoms and progressively deteriorating health due to the disease),” said Drilon. 

About 11 Filipino women die daily from cervical cancer, which is the second most frequent cancer and third leading cause of cancer-related death among women between 15 and 44 years old. 

Drilon also lost her own sister to cervical cancer. She expressed regret for learning too late that some types of cancer can be prevented, and that there is a vaccine that would have kept them both safe from cervical cancer. 

“Pagbabakuna ng mas marami pa, malawak na screening para sa mga kababaihan, at sapat na suporta sa mga hindi naiwasan ang kanser at kasalukuyang nakikipaglaban sa sakit na ito ang aming idinudulog sa inyo (Vaccination for many more [women and girls], expanded screening, and sufficient support for the patients who contracted cancer and are currently struggling to manage the disease, these are what we petition from you),” she implored the President in an open letter published on their organization’s Facebook page. 

Further in the letter, Drilon spoke of her hope that the President will recognize the physical, emotional, and financial burden of cancer and find the means to help the many Filipinas who are already afflicted, as well as those who will still be afflicted, by the disease. 

She looked back on her own experience, describing a decade-long pain-filled fight that rendered her unable to work and mired in debt—a common plight for many cancer patients. She spoke of how cancer impacts the lives of not just female cancer patients like her, but also the extended networks that provide what little support they can, only to feel helpless when the person they cherish—mother, wife, sister, friend—struggles to recover her health or worse, loses her life.  

Isa lang po ako sa maraming umaasa sa benepisyo ng National Integrated Cancer Control Act ng Pilipinas. Umaasa po kami na magkakaroon ng Bagong Pilipinas para sa amin, at para sa iba pang pasyente ng cancer na nangangailangan pa. (I am just one of many who are counting on the benefits under the National Integrated Cancer Control Act of the Philippines. We hope there will be a New Philippines for us, and for the cancer patients who still need assistance)” said Drilon. 

Drilon’s petition is aligned with the global initiative for cervical cancer elimination devised by the World Health Organization, where 90% of girls should be fully vaccinated with HPV vaccine by 15 years of age by 2030; 70% of women are screened with a high-performance test by 35 years of age and again by 45 years of age; and 90% of women identified with cervical disease receive treatment (90% of women with precancer treated, and 90% of women with invasive cancer managed). After a slow start during the pandemic, the Philippines needs to accelerate its efforts to meet these targets.

This Cancer Awareness Month, Drilon is raising awareness of the challenges experienced by cervical cancer patients, but also of the very real possibility that more women and girls will be saved through effective preventive measures such as expanded coverage for vaccination and screening, as well as quality and affordable cancer care, under a well-funded government initiative. 

You can read the full letter here: Read the complete letter on: https://bitly.ws/3d5Xn


TAGS: BrandRoom, cervical cancer

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