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Cancer patients may now access financial help from SPMC

PATIENTS with cancer can now access an assistance fund from the Southern Philippines Medical Center to help with their treatments. 

Dr. Mae Dolendo, SPMC Integrated Cancer Care Committee chair, during the I-Speak forum on Thursday, said that under Republic Act 11215 or An Act Institutionalizing a National Integrated Cancer Control Program and Appropriating Funds Therefor, cancer patients can now avail of as much as Php150,000 worth of laboratory, radiology, and blood transfusion fees.

“The cancer assistance fund (CAF) pays for radiation therapy, laboratories, imaging— CT scan, X-ray, so on and so forth blood transfusions are also being supported,” Dolendo said.

According to the Department of Health, the eight identified priority cancer types eligible to be financed by the CAF include breast, childhood, gynecologic, liver, adult blood, head, neck, lung, prostate, renal, and urinary bladder cancers.

To avail of the CAF, patients and/or carers must submit the requirements to identified access sites where CAF services are available. Required documents, including prescriptions, treatment protocols, and medical abstracts, shall undergo evaluation before approval.

Dolendo said that CAF is not only for patients in public hospitals but also for those who are in private medical facilities. 

Halimbawa empleyado ka, admitted ka in a private hospital and walang pambayad for CT-scan you can actually access SPMC. We will pay for the procedure. Ipaagi sa among social worker, ang social worker namin ang magtawag, hindi siya cash (For example, you are an employee, you are admitted in a private hospital, and you do not have money to pay for CT Scan you can actually access at SPMC. We will pay for the procedure. You must be assessed first by our social workers, and they will make the call. The assistance is not in a form of cash),” Dolendo said. 

SPMC signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Davao Doctors for the PET scan and One World for the laboratory procedures. 

Dolendo added that for the assistance to be accessed, the first requirement is that a patient must be diagnosed with cancer. 

Ang patients muagi gyud sa atong (All patients should go through) social worker of the cancer institute because there are requirements such as medical certificate, medical abstract, the usual requirements because we really have to document it as we are responsible for the fund given to us,” Dolendo said. 

The SPMC having been identified and designated as a cancer care center of the DOH, received the initial fund of Php 8 million for CAF in October last year. 

Dolendo said that though these funds are present, it is still best if people can avoid cancer or risky stages of cancer through observance of proper diet and also undergoing screening for cancer for early detection.

For those who seek cancer treatment, SPMC now has advanced technology capable of procedures that help them to become free from cancer. 


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