Did you know that the first cancer survivorship center in the Philippines is found in Cebu?
Cancer survivorship is a new field of oncology under the U.S. National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). It is also in line with the policy statement between the ASCO and the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) on providing quality multi-disciplinary cancer care. This period is the process of “living with, through and beyond cancer.” This field provides cancer patients ways to be healthy during and after treatment. Likewise, it assists in improving the quality of life of cancer survivors as they shift from treatment to recovery.
Knowing the importance of cancer survivorship, Dr. Omid Uy Etemadi and his team of board-certified experts opened the CANCERCARE Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship Center in Cebu. Located at Robinsons Cybergate Complex, the center is the pioneer of the survivorship program in the country. It basically provides an extensive interdisciplinary program that cares for the needs of cancer patients and their families. This includes (1) nutritional oncology, (2) evidence-based complementary medicine, (3) psychological care, (4) mind-body medicine and pastoral care, (5) pain management and palliative care, (6) cancer co-morbidity management, (7) post-treatment oncology rehabilitation, and (8) cancer patient education services.
The team educates its clients about nutrition, specifically the food they should and should not be eating during their chemotherapy or radiation treatments. They also provide information on how to scientifically beat weight loss and loss of appetite. Cancer patients and their families will also learn how to prepare delicious meal replacement shakes that contain safe and effective phytonutrient supplements. They are also taught ways to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation, understand how to manage treatment side-effects, and how to effectively handle pain.
Aside from managing the physical aspects that come with cancer, patients and their loved ones are taught how to lessen anxiety and insomnia effectively, and how to deal with cancer diagnosis and treatment psychologically and emotionally.
Dr. Omid Uy Etemadi graduated from the Cebu Institute of Medicine (CIM). He ranked third in the February 2007 Philippine Physician Licensure Examination. He is a graduate fellow of the Arizona Health Sciences Center at the University of Arizona, and Master Class for Oncologists Program at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute of Harvard Medical School. He is also a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society of Nutrition. He actively participates in the different cancer awareness and prevention campaigns in the country.
Cancer is a deadly disease that affects billions of people worldwide, regardless of age or race. It is often called a silent killer that slowly eats up a person’s life. Characterized by out-of-control cell growth, cancer has over 100 different types, which are classified by the kind of cell that is initially affected. According to the Department of Health – Health Intelligence Services (DOH-HIS), cancer ranks third in leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the Philippines, with communicable diseases ranking first and cardiovascular diseases in second.
The symptoms of cancer are quite varied and depend on numerous factors such as the location of the cancer, the area where it has spread, and the size of the tumor. Some cancers can be felt or seen through the skin with the presence of lumps, discoloration or a change in a wart or mole. Various oral cancers show patches in the mouth or spots on the tongue.
Other cancers have symptoms that are less physically evident. For instance, changes in important cognitive functions are symptoms of brain tumors. Seemingly ordinary pains can also be signs of tumor growth, lumps push against organs and blood vessels. Diarrhea, constipation and changes in stool size can be a sign of colon cancer. Changes in bladder function like more frequent or infrequent urination may be a sign of prostate or bladder cancers.
Individuals with suspected cancer go through thorough history and physical examinations that commonly include a blood test, X-ray, endoscopy, CT scan, biopsy and others. Although modern medicine has paved the way to various cancer treatments, prevention is still better than cure. Research shows that the simple everyday decisions people make have a significant impact on their cancer risk. A huge number of cancer cases have been directly connected to daily dietary and lifestyle habits.
On the other hand, people should recognize the importance of a regular check-up. Waiting for cancer symptoms to appear is very detrimental. At present, the majority of Filipino cancer patients seek out medical advice only when cancer is already symptomatic or at advanced stages. Sadly, for every two new cancer cases that are diagnosed annually, one dies within the year.
For more information on the Cancer Survivorship Center, you may call (032) 520-8870.