When one thinks about the Big C, it’s always a scary thing for those affected and their families. But, hope is not lost because now ManilaMed, one of the country’s leading hospitals, opened a newly constructed Cancer Care Center that will serve as a one-stop cancer facility with state-of-the-art equipment, and a fresh, and holistic approach to treating cancer patients.
I attended the press briefing at ManilaMed last June which greatly discussed the future of cancer care in the Philippines. The procedures for newly diagnosed admitted patients, the benefits of multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach for cancer, the evolution of radiotherapy, the side-effects and complications of using their Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy Treatment (IMRT), stages of cancer treatment and so much more.
Testimonies were also given by survivors in the hope of uplifting the spirits of those afflicted, to know that there’s hope and that prevention almost always is the best cure.
I believe ManilaMed is the first in the country to use state of the art Linear Accelerator (LINAC) radiation therapy machine that utilizes focused radiation to kill cancer cells. In many cases, radiation is a less drastic and less invasive option than surgery.
“One of the newer features of the Cancer Care Center which we are trying to introduce is the concept of the multidisciplinary team approach in the management of Cancer,” says Cancer Care Center head medical oncologist Dr. Dennis Sacdalan. “We bring people from different disciplines, different specialties together in one setting, and they’re there to discuss a patient so that all aspects of the patient’s treatment can be covered.”
Dr. Liangco, also an oncologist at the center explains, “When a patient is treated for cancer, there is a tendency for the treatment to be disjointed, especially if the patient is seeing many doctors like a surgeon, a pain specialist, etc. There is a tendency for some of the data to get lost in translation, some time to be lost, and for things to be inefficient in general.” He concludes “That is one of the reasons why we are coming up with a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach for cancer, the efficacy of the MDT approach is supported by studies.”
We were given a tour of their cancer facility. The center’s focus is to diagnose and treat the disease. It’s a great thing to have this sort of one-stop facility for the Big C patients and I heard that health cards and even PhilHealth will shoulder some of the huge expenses.
Aside from its novel approach, the Cancer Care Center at ManilaMed will have only the best hardware in the country. “Unlike older technologies, the medical LINAC machine can zero in on a tumor and minimize the damage to healthy tissue,” explains head Medical Physicist Raquel Santecera. “With the new LINAC, accuracies in terms of hitting the tumor is now reckoned in millimeters. The model of LINAC at ManilaMed is the most advanced in the Philippines. It is one of only three similar machines in the whole country, and in Metro Manila, only Medical City has a comparable machine.” explains chief of radiation oncology at ManilaMed, Dr. Vicente Hizon.
The final piece of the puzzle though is the heart. The Cancer Care Center of ManilaMed will not just be about treating cancer, it will be about treating people. “We strive to be more holistic in our approach. Aside from having a team of doctors, we also hope to introduce other aspects of cancer care. Part of the multi-disciplinary team approach is to provide psycho-social support, even spiritual support. Pastoral care will be part and parcel of the multidisciplinary management of patients,” shares Dr. Sacdalan. “For patients who may not be cured of their cancer for a long time, we have a palliative care team that will be able to take care of these patients even outside the hospital. Hopefully, we can go into home care programs so that the hospital services can be extended to these patients even in their houses when patients are too weak to come to the hospital.” He adds.
ManilaMed is one of the leading hospitals in the Philippines, it is located at 1000 Gen. Luna St, Ermita, Manila, Metro Manila Philippines. For more information on the Cancer Care Center at ManilaMed, go to http://manilamed.com.ph/portfolio-items/cancer-care-center/, or call (02) 523-8121 local 2647.