Cancer in the time of COVID

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    The pandemic has changed lifestyles, with people locked down to safeguard their health. Many have adjusted to this new normal, but cancer patients are having it worse with restrictions and greater concerns about the virus.

    In commemoration of the World Cancer Day and the second anniversary of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act of 2019 (NICCA), the Cancer Coalition Philippines (CCPh) and the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) together with the Department of Health (DOH) recently held the first of a series of virtual forums on the current plight of cancer patients in the country.

    The first forum titled “Cancer Conversations: Navigating Cancer with Patients” held last February 4, was attended by stakeholders from different industries, policy-making bodies, the academe, cancer support and advocacy groups, and pharmaceutical firms.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the strengths and weaknesses of our healthcare system. Through this forum, cancer patients can share the challenges they faced during the pandemic and what resources became available to them. Because of the cancer law, patients and their families are looking forward to a hopeful life journey with equitable and affordable cancer treatment and care. We share in the call for the law’s full implementation,” CCPh President Paul Perez remarked.

    PHAP Executive Director Teodoro Padilla added, “In the face of the pandemic, we see how the pharmaceutical industry is working together and harnessing innovation to find viable vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for COVID-19.

    We remember our commitment to cancer patients, a vulnerable group, who have also been impacted by the pandemic with long delayed visits to healthcare professionals, facilities, and treatments. We are honored to partner with the Department of Health and the Cancer Coalition Philippines for this platform.”