cancer logoPresident Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act No. 11215 now also known as “National Integrated Cancer Control Act” on February 14, 2019. This shall serve as the framework for all cancer-related activities of the government, to decrease the overall mortality and impact of all adult and children cancer, lessen incidence of preventable cancer in adults and children, and prevent cancer recurrence, metastasis, and secondary cancer among survivors and people living with cancer. The new law compliments the Universal Healthcare coverage Act.        

The Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates of the Department of Health said there are up to eight (8) deaths per day for childhood cancer and up to eleven (11) new cases and seven (7) deaths every hour for adult cancer in the Philippines. A study conducted by the University of the Philippines Institute of Human Genetics showed that 189 of every 100,000 Filipinos are afflicted with cancer while 96 cancer patients died every day. Also, according to the 2016 Philippines Statistic Authority data, neoplasm or tumors which are commonly associated with cancers are the second leading cause of death for Filipinos next to heart ailments.

The new law seeks to provide timely access to optimal cancer treatment and care for all patients, make cancer treatment and care more affordable and accessible, improve the experience of cancer treatment and care of patients and families, support the recovery and reintegration to society of cancer survivors, and eliminate various forms of burden on patients, people living with cancer, survivors, and their families.

The law forms a National Integrated Cancer Control Council which shall act as the policy making, planning and coordinating body on cancer control, attached to the Department of Health.

The law also mandates for the creation of a Cancer Registry and Philippine Cancer Centers throughout the country, to aid in government efforts to extend financial and other forms of assistance to impoverished cancer patients as well as to provide funds for cancer research.

The law also calls on the Department of Health to intensify its cancer awareness campaign and provide the latest and evidence-based information for the prevention and treatment of cancer and supply sufficient access for cancer medicines.

A cancer assistance fund is also created under this law. The health department shall manage the fund and may solicit and receive donations. Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) benefits for cancer patient will also be expanded to include screening, detection, diagnosis, treatment, supportive care, rehabilitation, and palliative care.