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Cancer and Sin Tax Law

By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
February 28, 2013

CEBU CITY – Cancer still ranks third in the list of leading causes of death in the Philippines in 2010. Two of the top causes of cancer deaths in the country are lung cancer and liver cancer.

“Liver cancer and lung cancer are the leading cancers in Metro Cebu. Lung cancer ranks first not just in terms of incidence but also in mortality cases,” Ronald delos Reyes, program coordinator of Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (EJACC) of Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI), said.

During the Feb. 23 episode of “Pagtuki”, the official radio program of RAFI, delos Reyes stressed that there is an increase of lung cancer incidence among women in Metro Cebu. However, more men still contract and die because of lung cancer.

“For the past 15 years, the average lung cancer cases among women were less than a hundred. Now, it has now an average of 200 cases,” delos Reyes added.

EJACC’s Metro Cebu Population-based Cancer Registry shows that from 1998 to 2002, 826 men and 360 women were diagnosed of lung cancer, and 646 men and 270 women died of the disease.

In the year 2003 to 2007, 830 men and 457 women were diagnosed from which 626 men and 328 women died.

According to Bernadine Hayag, designated health promotion and education officer of Department of Health (DOH) 7, one of the causes of increased incidence rate among women is secondhand smoke.

“There are 70,000 chemicals found in one cigarette, 7,000 of these chemicals are carcinogens which cause cancer,” she said, disclosing that every hour, 10 Filipinos die because of smoking.

Hayag also stressed that smokers are also prone to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), aside from lung cancer.

EJACC’s Metro Cebu Population-based Cancer Registry data also reveals that from 1998 to 2002, there are 1,561 cases of liver cancer, wherein 1,350 died from the disease. EJACC’s 2003 to 2007 data shows that there are 1,267 deaths from the 1,612 liver cancer cases.

“We encourage parents to give their children a complete vaccination for hepatitis B as a primary preventive measure. Other ways to reduce the risk of developing liver cancer include healthy lifestyle, avoidance of excessive alcohol intake, sex with multiple partners, and smoking,” he said, adding that 80 percent of liver cancer cases is caused by Hepatitis B infection.

Last December, Republic Act No. 10351, otherwise known as the Sin Tax Reform 2012, mandates a significant increase in the prices of cigarettes and liquor in the country.

“As of now, we could not feel the effects of the implementation of the newly passed law. Five years from now, more Filipinos will benefit from it. We are expecting that the number of smokers and drinkers will, however, decrease,” she added.

Delos Reyes emphasized that early detection and prevention are the best solutions in order not to acquire late stage lung and liver cancers.

For Hayag, DOH is strengthening their advocacy campaign and information dissemination on the ill-effects of tobacco smoking and excessive alcohol drinking to the public.

Pagtuki is aired over DyLA every Saturday at 10-11am. The program, which is one of the Knowledge Sharing & Advocacy capabilities of RAFI, tackles timely and relevant issues on politics, governance, micro-financing, education, environment, early childhood care and development, and culture and heritage that affect the Cebuano community.

For more information about RAFI’s radio program, please contact Chrisely Hinayas at 418-7234 loc. 540, or visit www.rafi.org.ph or www.facebook.com/rafi.org.ph