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PIA Press Release
Thursday, January 19, 2012


DOH advocates healthy lifestyle for cancer prevention

by Carlito C. Dar

BAGUIO CITY, Jan. 19 (PIA) -- In line with country’s observance of National Cancer Awareness Week from January 18 to 22, the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) reiterated to the public its healthy lifestyle campaign as an effective preventive measure against cancer.

DOH-CAR consultant Dr. Jennifer Balatian, an oncologist of Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC), in a kapihan forum Wednesday, explained that the health department’s thrust focuses on prevention.

“Prevention is really better than treatment as aside from the life that would be saved, it would also save possible patients from expensive cancer treatment. Though, we at the BGHMC has the capability to manage cancer cases in terms of facility and health experts, we still promote healthy lifestyle for cancer prevention”, Balatian said.

According to Balatian, cancer remains among the top causes of mortality and morbidity in the country. At the BGHMC , it ranks 10th among the medical cases received and 7th among the leading cause of death.

Dr. Jasmin Igama, also an oncologist of BGHMC, shared that of the cancer cases they have handled, only one one-third of the caees are hereditary while two-thirds are lifestyle-related. Thus, she is pushing for a more intensified advocacy campaign against cancer through healthy lifestyle.

The Healthy Lifestyle advocacy campaign of the DOH includes seven healthy practices which are: no smoking; do not drink alcohol; no to illegal drugs; keep low salt, low fat diet; prevention of hypertension; do physical exercise or activity; and manage stress.

According to Igama, though there is better public awareness now, there is a need to do more for the prevention and early detection as many of the cancer cases they are receiving are already in stage three and four. She is also urging for stricter implementation of laws particularly those those involving anti-smoking as she affirmed that lung cancer still remains as the top kind of cancer in the country.

Based on DOH data, lung cancer is followed by breast, colon, rectal and liver cancer.

Igama expressed concern that lung cancer may soon overtake breast cancer as the top cancer among women since smoking is becoming more prevalent among female including young girls.

With most of cancer cases related to tobacco smoking, Igama reiterated the importance for the public to join the advocacy especially for parents to be role models in their own homes.(JDP/LD-PIA CAR)

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