Duterte enacts Cancer Control law

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Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act creates a nationwide program to curb cancer incidence in the country and make treatment for the fatal disease more affordable and accessible. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 19) — President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a bill establishing a national framework to combat cancer.

Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act creates a nationwide program to curb cancer incidence in the country and make treatment for the fatal disease more affordable and accessible.

The law creates the National Intergrated Cancer Control Council attached to the Department of Health (DOH). It will be composed of secretaries of the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Labor and Employment, and Department of the Interior and Local Government.

It will also include the president of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), director general of the Food and Drug Administration, two medical doctors, and three representatives from cancer advocacy groups.

The council is tasked to develop a national cancer control roadmap, which sets annual targets, priorities and strategies for programs in the national and local health care system to combat the disease.

The law also establishes the Philippine Cancer Center under the DOH. The center will provide accommodation, medical treatment and facilities for patients suffering from cancer. It will also conduct researches on cancer prevention and treatment.

February will be established as "National Cancer Awareness Month," as prescribed by the law.

Cancer is the second-leading cause of death of Filipinos, according to a 2016 Philippine Statistics Authority report. In that year alone, 60,740 deaths were recorded due to "neoplasms" or abnormal tissue growths - more popularly known as cancer.