Cancer and Sin Tax
By Ramon Aboitiz
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
“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
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
“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
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
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