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In observance of National Lung Cancer Awareness Month every November with the theme: Kalaaman sa Kanser sa Baga  Palawakin, Pag iwas at Lunas Ating Alamin, the Department of Health (DOH) strongly advised people to stop smoking as research disclosed that smoking and secondhand smoke continues to be the leading cause of lung cancer.

“Aside from lung cancer that one gets due to smoking, it weakens the immune system which is also a big factor for survival if one becomes infected with COVID-19”, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque, III explained.

Duque added that there are several risk factors that may increase the chances of getting lung cancer. These include smoking, secondhand smoke, and other substances found at workplaces like asbestos, arsenic, diesel exhaust, and some forms of silica and chromium. Also, family history, radiation therapy to the chest, diet, and lifestyle may also contribute to acquiring the disease.

According to Global Cancer Statistics 2020, lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, affecting 2.2 million people in 2020. Furthermore, lung cancer is the 2nd leading cancer site and leading cause of mortality among all types of cancer in the Philippines.

In accordance with Republic Act No. 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA), the Department of Health (DOH) shall lead, coordinate and supervise the nationwide yearly observance of Lung Cancer Awareness Month every November. The DOH shall also closely coordinate with the World Health Organization and other partners in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of reducing premature mortality from cancer by 30% in 2030.

Further, the DOH established the Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF) to support the Cancer and Supportive-Palliative Medicines Access Program (CSPMAP). The CSPMAP shall provide free medicines to cancer patients in any of the following eight cancer types: 1) Breast Cancer, 2) Childhood Cancers, 3) Gynecologic Cancers, 4) Liver Cancer, Colorectal Cancer and other digestive tract cancers, 5) Adult Blood Cancers (leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma), 6) Head-Neck-Thyroid Cancers, 7) Lung Cancer and 8) Prostate and Urinary Bladder Cancer. With this program, the out-of-the pocket expenses of patients, including their families, will be greatly reduced.

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