DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 Sept)—The Southern Philippines Medical Center will soon operate its newly-constructed nuclear medicine facility, medical specialists at SPMC announced the development Monday as the world observes Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month this September.
Dr. Abdiel Galicia, a medical oncologist at the SPMC’s Department of Internal Medicine and Cancer Institute, said during the during the Kapehan ng Dabaw on Monday that the facility will allow the center to provide radiation therapy and radioactive iodine (RAI) treatment.
According to Galicia, the Philippines is among the countries where thyroid cancer is prevalent. Thyroid carcinoma, he noted, is currently the seventh most common cancer in the Philippines, diagnosed in 10 in 100 women and 3 in 100 men.
The treatment for this cancer may require surgery, radiation, chemotherapy for the advanced cases, and RAI, said Dr. Wenilito Clapano, surgical oncologist at SPMC.
Clapano said that thyroid carcinoma may not be that common but it is also not unusual. Most thyroid carcinoma have a low mortality rate when treated early, he added.
As to the five-year survival of the cancer patients, he said that “if we catch [the disease] early, about 98 percent are still alive in 5 to 10 years.”
Galicia said the equipment for the RAI is the last remaining requirement needed for the nuclear medicine facility to fully operate as the building is already finished and they already have the nuclear medicine experts and consultants to run the facility.
But he stressed that even before the nuclear medicine facility opens early next year, thyroid cancer patients can still seek the help of SPMC’s Cancer Assistance Fund of the Cancer Institute to avail of RAI treatment elsewhere. (Miah Christine Bontilao / MindaNews)