A total of 37,186 patients have benefited from Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO)’s flagship project called Individual Medical Assistance Program (IMAP), which translates to P727.5 million of expenses for the month of May, based on the data provided by the Charity Assistance Department (CAD).
“The P727.5 million is 21.07% increase in spending and 26.14% increase in the beneficiaries compared with the same period last year,” said PCSO General Manager Alexander Balutan.
According to Dr. Larry Cedro, assistant general manager for Charity Sector, the top three nature of requests include hospital confinement with 13,376 beneficiaries at P290.8 million; medicines with 12,132 beneficiaries at P149.9 million; and chemotherapy with 4,305 beneficiaries at P179.2 million.
“Compared with the same period last year, chemotherapy had the highest increase this month in terms of cases at 24.6% and amount spent at 30.35%; followed by request for medicines at 14.96 percent in cases and 15.63% in amount; and confinement at 15.71% in cases and 12.24% in amount,” Cedro said.
Balutan said close to P4 billion has been spent for the IMAP benefiting 190,000 of mostly indigent patients.
Rising number of cancer cases in Ph
In a Globocan data prepared by the Philippine Cancer Society, there are an estimated 11,000 new cancer cases in 2015. Leading the new cancer cases from both sexes are breast, lung, colorectal, liver, and cervical cancers.
In terms of new cancer deaths, the top is lung, liver, and breast.
Breakthrough cancer treatments such as immunotherapy and targeted therapies could be seen as a new lease on life for patients suffering from cancer and they are increasingly becoming cancer treatment options.
Targeted therapy, as the name indicates, “target” specific cancer cells. It alters the inner workings of the cell focusing on the part of the cancer cell that makes it different from the normal, healthy cell.
Immunotherapy, on the other hand, uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. It stimulates the immune system and may be used with other types of treatment or by itself.
While chemotherapy, as a general rule, targets the cells that are rapidly growing, however, it cannot differentiate between cancerous and healthy cells. Cells such as those in gastrointestinal tract have fast growing cells, and the side effect is they could get affected.
At present, however, immunotherapy is being offered only for certain diseases such as lung cancer, melanoma, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, bladder, head, and neck cancers and at certain stages based on the recommendation of a medical oncologist who helps the patient understand when it is feasible to use it.
In 2017, one newspaper reported that families spend an average of P150,000 per cancer treatment alone, and now immunotherapy is estimated at P300,000 per session.
How to file requests in PCSO
To avoid processing delays, Balutan advised patients to completely submit the following documentary requirements: personal letter to PCSO Chairman or General Manager, original/certified true copy of medical abstract signed by the doctor with license number, final hospital billing, endorsement from the hospital to accept PCSO guarantee letter, and photocopies of patient’s ID and immediate relative who will process the documents.
If a patient is discharged from the hospital and still have a remaining balance, a notarized promissory note is needed
Additional documents will be required for laboratory procedures, requests for chemo drugs or medicines, implant/prosthesis, and hemodialysis.
Under PCSO’s charter, 55% of its revenues should be allocated for prizes, 15% for operational expenses, and 30% for its “charity fund.”