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OCT 12, 2015

NR # 3985B

Cancer prevention, screening and early detection program pushed


A lady lawmaker has filed a measure providing for free cancer prevention, screening
and early detection program for working class Filipinos in all government health facilities.
Rep. Estrellita B. Suansing (1 st District, Nueva Ecija) said House Bill 6154 hopes to
help increase the chances of Filipinos, especially those in the working class minimum wage
earners survive cancer, which is the third leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the
country.
Aside from the physical and emotional toll seen in people diagnosed with the disease,
the economic cost of having cancer also has a profound impact on the familys resources,
Suansing said.
Many of those affected are the breadwinners and heads of the family, often resulting
to loss of income and savings due to the overwhelming cost of treatment, she added.
According to Suansing, in todays age and technology, one-third of cancers are
preventable, one-third is curable if detected early and screening increases the chances of
detecting certain cancers early, when they are most likely to be curable.
Presently however, Suansing said there is low cancer prevention awareness among the
Filipino population and most of the diagnosed cases are symptomatic and in its advanced
stages, hence, cancer survival rates remain low.
By reinforcing cancer prevention programs already in place, and more importantly, by
providing a free cancer screening and early detection program, including free HPV
vaccination will help increase the chances of Filipinos survive the deadly disease, Suansing
said.
The measure, also known as the Cancer Prevention, Screening and Early Detection
Act, shall endeavor to prevent and control diseases among high-risk groups, especially those
belonging in the working class.
Under the measure, all government health facilities nationwide shall provide free
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination, as part of the prevention against cervical cancer,
to qualified eligible beneficiaries included in high-risk groups identified by the Department of
Health (DOH).
Mammogram, Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy, Pap smear or Test, Fecal Occult Blood
Testing, Colonoscopy and Prostate Ultrasound are cancer screening and early detection
procedures that shall be made available by all government health facilities for free for all
qualified eligible beneficiaries.

The DOH, in coordination with the local government units through its local health
officers, shall carry out and reinforce cancer prevention programs already in place.
The cancer prevention programs aims to educate the importance of good nutrition and
maintaining healthy lifestyle; educate on the risk factors for all forms of cancer, on the
common signs and symptoms, proper techniques of self-examination, need to periodically
undergo physical examinations, the availability of immunization and the availability and
appropriateness of procedures for detecting the cancer in its early stages.
Qualified eligible beneficiaries are the heads of the family, with gross annual income of
not more than P100,000 as reflected in their BIR Income Tax Return, and belong to the highrisk group identified by the DOH.
The DOH, in coordination of the Department of Social Welfare and Development
(DSWD), shall promulgate and issue the necessary guidelines for the implementation of the
proposed Act. (30) jc