MANILA — Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Filipinos yet many are unaware of the best practices on treating and preventing it.
“The awareness to prevent it and the support for lung cancer patients and their loved ones is very low. We wanted to remove the stigma, the belief that most people who have it are hopeless cases and that there are no longer medical options for their afflictions,” AstraZeneca Philippines Medical Affairs head, Donald Josue, said at the launch of LVNG with Lung Cancer website in Mandaluyong City on Tuesday.
AstraZeneca Philippines is a global and science-led biopharmaceutical business that provides innovative medicines to patients worldwide.
It has partnered with the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology, Philippine Alliance of Patient Organizations, and Cancer Coalition Philippines to create an online resource for cancer patients and their families.
Medical oncologist Marcelo Severino Imasa, one of the presenters at the event, said about 1.8 million cancer patients worldwide had been diagnosed with lung cancer in 2012 alone.
“Lung cancer has become a heavier burden in Third World countries. In the Philippines, lung cancer is second to breast cancer as (the) leading causes of cancer but it is ahead of breast cancer in terms of the most common cause of cancer death,” he said.
Imasa said most lung cancer patients are diagnosed with the disease at stage three or four because it barely shows serious symptoms in the patients during the earlier stages. So the treatment of disease becomes more challenging.
Josue said they plan to activate a community of Filipinos living with cancer through the website, allowing them to connect and share their experiences.
“This community will embrace the patients as people in every step of their journey from simply coping to living with the disease. It is like a shared optimism that will break the negativity about lung cancer, and provide holistic support for both cancer patients and non-cancer patients,” he said.
Josue added that the website aims to inform everyone that cancer is treatable and there are many ways to treat it.
“That’s why we placed in it information or links to medical oncologists. These are doctors who specialize in cancer and not just general doctors. There’s also a directory of laboratories where you can have your biomarker testing because that is a common question we get from people,” he said.
The group’s website, www.lvngph.com, will be formally launched on November 2m in line with the celebration of the Lung Cancer Awareness Month. (PNA)