‘Voices of Hope’

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    From left: Tetit Melendres-Aristan, lung cancer patient; Diego Castro, Hope From Within ambassador and journalist; Dr. Meredith Garcia, medical oncologist; and Fr. Jerry Orbos, columnist priest. PHOTO BY ROLLY SALVADOR
    From left: Tetit Melendres-Aristan, lung cancer patient; Diego Castro, Hope From Within ambassador and journalist; Dr. Meredith Garcia, medical oncologist; and Fr. Jerry Orbos, columnist priest. PHOTO BY ROLLY SALVADOR

    LUNG CANCER survivors, caregivers, specialist physicians, as well as representatives from medical societies, hospitals, and government agencies have gathered to resolve gaps and identify action points and opportunities for improvement for each phase of lung cancer journey for Filipino patients – from symptoms onset to post treatment.

    The “Voices of Hope: Winning vs. Lung Cancer” event has involved panel discussions moderated by MSD’s Hope From Within ambassador and journalist Diego Castro and medical oncologist Dr. Herdee Luna.

    Given the magnitude of the lung cancer burden, Hope From Within brings back focus on this malignancy, this time with the objective of addressing key concerns throughout the patient journey.

    Discussion topics include early signs of lung cancer, recommendations for early screening, new treatment options and their potential benefits to prognosis, the patient’s, caregiver’s, and physician’s roles in the diagnosis-and-treatment dialogue, post treatment care, coping with the stages of grief, and the various ways to get material support for treatment.

    Besides Luna, other members of the panel include Dr. Nelia Tan-Liu, Lung Center of the Philippines’ Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine consultant; Dr. Cecilia Llave, Philippine Society of Oncologists president; and Karen Villanueva, Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations treasurer and International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations board member.

    The highlight of the event was the introduction of new Hope From Within ambassadors and advocates, wherein they provided first-hand insights on the discussions. Joining Castro in rallying behind the lung cancer advocacy are columnist priest Fr. Jerry Orbos, veteran actors Susan Africa and Tirso Cruz III, TV host and social media influencer Dr. Gia Sison, medical oncologist Dr. Meredith Garcia, and stage IV lung cancer patient Tetit Melendres-Aristan.

    Orbos and Cruz have both fought stage 2 lung cancer, while Africa took care of her late husband Spanky Manikan whom eventually lost his battle against the diseases. Sison, who specializes in occupational medicine, is a breast cancer survivor, while Garcia is a medical oncologist and a passionate advocate for new cancer treatments such as immunotherapy.