By Jose Cielito Reganit

Soon to open: Philippine Cancer Center, Quezon City (Photo courtesy of PCC Facebook)

MANILA – The soon-to-rise Philippine Cancer Center could prevent the death of thousands of Filipinos due to the dreaded disease.

To be built on a 5,000-square-meter lot inside the Philippine Blood Center complex along Quezon Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City, the 20-story center is envisioned to be a modern teaching and research hospital, with each floor focusing on different types of cancers: hepatic, renal, gastrointestinal, lung, breast, women reproductive organs, skin and even rare cancers.

It will be comprehensive — from diagnosis, treatment, research, to patient support.

Cancer remains the second leading cause of death among Filipinos, next to heart disease, based on the January to September 2023 records of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

In a separate report by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, the country has 25,000 cases of cancer every year, with at least 9,000 dying annually.

The center is in line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s mission to provide Filipinos with comprehensive, affordable and accessible healthcare, according to the groundbreaking ceremony’s guest of honor House of Representatives Speaker Martin Romualdez.

“Ito po ang misyon ng Pangulong Marcos Jr. Ito ang misyon na pinagtutulungan nating bigyan ng buhay ngayong araw (This is the mission of President Marcos. This is the mission that, together, we are working on to put into reality),” he said in his speech on Friday.

He said the center is the government’s response to not only decrease mortality and morbidity but also to lessen the incidence of preventable cancers.

“Our aim is to transform cancer from a death sentence into a manageable condition that, when detected and treated early, can be overcome. We want to ensure strategic alignment with national cancer control plans, make treatment more equitable, affordable, and accessible, and improve the overall experience of cancer care for patients and their families,” Romualdez added.

He said the Cancer Center would be both a “sanctuary for healing and hope” and a testament to the “collective resolve against cancer.”

The building of a specialized cancer facility “marks a milestone not just in the history of healthcare in our nation but in the lives of countless Filipinos whose battles against cancer have been long and arduous,” he added.

“Together, let’s build a future where cancer is no longer a feared enemy, but a challenge that, with compassion, dedication, and innovation, we can overcome,” he said.

The center would also include housing facilities for relatives of cancer patients caring for them, and for doctors in the provinces who undergo training in the cancer hospital.

The Cancer Center will complete the medical complex built during the Marcos Sr. administration, where specialty hospitals are located close to each other: National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines and Philippine Children’s Medical Center. (PNA)