NATIONAL CANCER AWARENESS MONTH: Cancer patients getting P1.25 billion aid fund

Congress has bumped up to P1.25 billion the money for the Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF), in a bid to help a greater number of patients fight the disease that is killing 96 Filipinos every day, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said on Sunday.

“The new money for the CAF is P1.25 billion. This is itemized in the 2024 national budget. The amount is 150 percent higher than the P500 million for the CAF in 2023,” Campos, vice chairperson of the House committee on appropriations, said.

“The CAF will directly benefit cancer patients, persons living with cancer, cancer survivors, and high-risk individuals,” Campos said while the country is observing National Cancer Awareness Month.

“The fund will pay for the cost of cancer screening, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, and its care-related components, including the required diagnostics and laboratories for eight priority cancer types,” Campos said.

Campos credited House Speaker Martin Romualdez for the increase in the CAF money.

“The P1.25 billion for the CAF is on top of the P1 billion earmarked this year for the National Integrated Cancer Control Program,” according to Campos, who represents the second district of Makati.

Campos’ wife is Makati Mayor Abigail Binay.

The CAF may be availed through Department of Health (DOH)-run hospitals.

The DOH has identified the eight priority cancer types as: breast cancer; childhood cancers; gynecologic cancers; liver cancer, including colorectal and other digestive tract cancers; head and neck cancers, including thyroid; lung cancer; and prostate, renal and urinary bladder cancer.

At least 96 Filipinos die of cancer-related causes every day, and 184 cancer cases are diagnosed in 100,000 patients, according to the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology.

The top five cancers that kill the greatest number of Filipinos are lung (cancer), followed by liver, breast, colon, and prostate.