Lung cancer prevalence alarms group

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Sunday, July 6, 2014


A GROUP of former smokers and cancer survivors has expressed alarm over the continued prevalence of lung cancer in the Philippines after Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago admitted last week that she contracted the disease.

According to New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) president Emer Rojas, there is a need to address the alarming number of lung cancer cases in the Philippines.

“While Senator Santiago’s lung cancer may not have been caused by smoking, lung cancer remains to be an alarming problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later,” said Rojas in a statement.

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Based on the World Health Organization (WHO) data, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.2 million deaths in 2012, of which lung cancer is the most common type, accounting for 1.59 million cases.

In the Philippines, lung cancer is the top cause of cancer-related death among men and the third cause of cancer deaths among women just after breast and cervical cancer.

“This disease is definitely preventable if we will only take actions that will dissuade our people from even trying to start smoking. Smoking is an addiction and once hooked, most have a hard time quitting. Nicotine is even more addictive than heroin," Rojas said.

Citing data from the WHO, Rojas said tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer, causing over 20 percent of global cancer deaths and about 70 percent of global lung cancer deaths.

Rojas said anti-smoking advocates are keenly waiting for President Benigno Aquino III to sign the graphic health warning (GHW) bill into law, as it will be an effective measure in reducing the smoking prevalence in the country.

“The GHW will be the best way to require cigarette manufacturers to provide the public the truthful and impactful warnings on the dangers of smoking. We are hoping President Aquino will sign it immediately so that the implementation timeline will commence immediately,” said Rojas.

Congress passed on June 11 the GHW bill, which calls for the 50 percent coverage of the picture warnings in the lower part of cigarette packs. (HDT/Sunnex)

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