102 petitions

Update posted 10 hours ago

Petition to Philippine Congress, Speaker Panteleon Alvares


Cancer is a growing and serious public health concern. It is inextricably linked with the achievement of the country’s poverty reduction and development goals.   Cancer incidence is increasing and is ranked as one of the leading causes of death among adults and children. In the 2015 Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates, it reported 109,280 new cancer cases  per year and 66,151 cancer deaths per year.  This is translated to 11 new adult cancer cases every hour, and 7 adult cancer deaths every hour. At least 3,900 children are diagnosed with cancer every year or 11 new cases every day.  It has been noted that there are at least 8 children die of childhood cancer per day. A recent report of the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) states that one in every ten registered deaths in the country is attributable to cancer. Since 2004, cancers have been the third leading cause of death following cardiovascular diseases; for child mortality and morbidity, cancer ranked 4th. Experts opine that the actual cancer burden and cancer mortality in the Philippine is in fact very much higher than what is currently being reported. Many more remain uncounted, unrecorded and unreported due to the absence of national cancer registries. Survival rates for the most common adult cancers (i.e. lung, breast, colon, cervical, prostate, liver) are relatively low compared to other countries in Asia and the world. For females, all cancer mortality rate, the Philippines ranks second highest among 15 countries in Asia, with 124 deaths per 100,000 population. Compared to Asian countries, the Philippines has the highest mortality rate for 2 types of cancer: breast (27 per 100,000 population) and prostate cancer (13 per 100,000 population. Lung cancer mortality rates are also high exceeding 40 per 100,000 population. For breast cancer, the Philippines also has the lowest survival (.58 mortality to incidence ratio.  For childhood cancers, which now has an average survival rate of 84% in high income countries and a growing number of middle income countries, average survival rate in the Philippines is at a low 30%.         Cancer is a catastrophic disease which pushes families deeper into poverty. It debilitates not only patients, but also their families and loved ones. The financial burden can be overwhelming, given that financial risk protection mechanisms are limited and patients often need to shell out money from their own pockets to pay for treatment and other costs, such as medical supplies, food, and transportation.  Evidence shows that in a cohort of cancer patients, the mean out-of-pocket expenditure for cancer treatment, far exceeded the mean household income; 117 percent at baseline to 253 percent twelve months after, leading more than 56 percent of households into financial catastrophe.[1] This does not yet factor in the staggering economic and social costs, with productivity losses for both patients and immediate caregivers. This huge out of pocket costs often deter health seeking behavior or leads to discontinuance and abandonment of treatment (i.e. voluntary stoppage of necessary treatment by patient /family) . In some areas and with certain types of cancer, abandonment or discontinuance of treatment can be as high as 75% while average treatment compliance is at a low 21%. These conditions are most observed among the poor. marginalized sectors but occurs even among the so called middle class.      Incidence of cancer is projected to increase by as much as 80%, by 2030, in low resource countries like the Philippines (WHO). This will have a staggering effect on the ability and resiliency of the Philippine health system as well as its overall economy.    THUS, PURSUANT TO THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS OF ARTICLE II, SECTION 15 ("The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them"), and ARTICLE 13 SECTION 11 ("The State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all people at affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged sick, elderly, disabled, women, and children. The State shall endeavor to provide free medical care to paupers")  WE CALL ON GOVERNMENT TO PASS A LAW WHICH WILL EXPAND EFFORTS TO EFFECTIVELY MANAGE AND CONTROL CANCER, IN ALL ITS FORMS, BY INCREASING INVESTMENTS FOR ITS PREVENTION, EARLY AND ACCURATE DETECTION, OPTIMAL TREATMENT, AND BY ADOPTING AN INTEGRATED, MULTI-DISCIPLINARY, AND PATIENT/FAMILY CENTERED APPROACH. We ask that this law include provisions that will have the following integral elements. 1. Strengthening of Cancer Care Infrastructure and Service Delivery Networks to cover the continuum of care. Public health facilities shall be strengthened to provide services spanning prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment, palliative and hospice care, survivorship follow up and rehabilitation.  This entails (a) providing investments in health facility renovation or upgrade, (b) providing reliable supply of medicines, biologics, and other supplies, (c) training and enhancing oncology related capacities in pathology, radiotherapy, surgery, nursing care,  (d) establishing clear protocols for patient navigation and palliative care, (e) ensuring proper recording and monitoring of cancer cases , and (f) ensuring that recording and monitoring extends to primary health care units. Regional Cancer Centers shall likewise be designated in strategic areas to improve access to optimal care and reduce patient costs. Robust and cost effective refer all systems among various levels of service delivery shall be institutionalized. 2. Strengthening the capacity of the Human Resources for Health in Cancer Care. A competency-based curriculum for all health care workers providing cancer care treatment and support at all levels of the healthcare service delivery system shall be created. This shall include multi-disciplinary, interdisciplinary approaches to cancer care. This will also include adoption of cost-effective teaching platforms for enhanced knowledge, skills, and attitude and implementation of health worker accreditation and certification mechanisms. 3. Strengthening the FDA to ensure the safety, quality, and efficacy of medicines, biologics, and other health technologies. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shall strengthen its regulatory capacity to ensure availability of safe, efficacious, quality medicines, biologics, and other health technologies for cancer patients. The FDA shall also develop policies facilitating clinical trials, supporting early access to innovative therapies and health technologies to ensure highest possible fighting chance of survival among people with cancer. 4. Institutionalizing Funding and Social Protection Mechanisms for Cancer Patients, Survivors, Caregivers, and their Families. Given the catastrophic nature of cancer and in order to ensure equitable access to treatment and care, there is a need to provide financial support to cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and their families in the following forms: Establishment of a Cancer Assistance Fund to reduce out-of-pocket expenditures for diagnosis, treatment, follow through survivorship care and rehabilitation services. This may be sourced from pooled and integrated funds from the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, among others. PhilHealth Benefit Packages for Cancer. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Phil Health) shall develop and/or expand its benefit packages to include all forms of cancer including metastatic cancers and high risk cancers in children . Social Protection Mechanisms for cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and their families. The State, in collaboration with DOH, SSS, GSIS, PCSO, PAGCOR, DOLE, DSWD, DOLE and LGUs shall develop social protection mechanisms to support the needs of the cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and their families to reduce, if not eliminate catastrophic cost and ensure well-being.  Nondiscrimination. Access to healthcare services should be provided without discrimination regarding race, religion, sex, national origin, or disability. Patients should also be free from discrimination based on their disease, with respect to both employment and health insurance accessibility 5. Establishment of a National Cancer Registry and Surveillance System and Evidence Generation. A National cancer registry and surveillance system covering all forms of cancer among adults and children shall be designed and implemented to support program decision-making. All public and private health centers, hospitals and facilities shall also observe notification protocols to alert the DOH of all cancer cases. 6. National and regional research and demonstration projects shall be conducted to generate evidence to improve policies and the implementation of the Integrated Philippine Cancer Control and Management Program (IPCCMP). 7. Strengthening Health Promotion, Information, and Education Programs. Health promotion and education activities shall be strengthened in schools and learning institutions, work places, communities, and among vulnerable, at-risk, and disadvantaged populations. A National Cancer Information Office shall also be developed to develop platforms (e.g. interactive websites) to provide comprehensive cancer information services to cancer patients, their families, the public, and health professionals. The DOH, in coordination with the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), KBP (Kapisanan nang Broadcasters nang Pilipinas)  and other related institutions , shall encourage media outlets to launch a media campaign on adoption of healthy lifestyles, early warning signs and symptoms of cancer, cancer prevention and control, treatment and management, using all forms of traditional multimedia and social media. The media campaign shall maximize participation of advertising agencies in developing behavior change communication materials that would promote cancer information and encourage adoption of health lifestyles among the public. 8. Establishing National Cancer Screening Programs. Identifying cancer at the earliest possible stage means that treatment is less costly, cure is most likely, survival rates will increase  and health outcomes will become more positive. We envision that creation and passage of this law will ensure that a diagnosis of cancer will no longer be akin to a a death sentence and that Filipinos will be able to fight and survive cancer just like citizens of other countries in Asia and the world. Increased survivorship and improved health outcomes for Filipinos with cancer will contribute to  our countrys achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Reduce mortality from cancer by at least 30%) as well as the realization of our countrys health and development priorities.          KALABANIN ANG KANSER TUNGO SA TUNAY NA KALAYAAN!  CANCER COALITION PHILIPPINES  The Cancer Coalition Philippines (CCPh) is a national coalition of cancer patient support organizations, health care providers, cancer advocates and champions engaging and working with government, policy makers, private sector, civil society, and international development partners. This petition is supported by the following: HOSPICE PHILIPPINES I CAN SERVE FOUNDATION CANCER WARRIORS FOUNDATION CAREWELL COMMUNITY FOUNDATION PHARMACEUTICAL AND HEALTHCARE ASSOCIATION OF THE PHILIPPINES PAIN SOCIETY OF THE PHILIPPINES PHILIPPINE BRAIN TUMOR ALLIANCE PHILIPPINE CANCER SOCIETY  PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF SURGEONS PHILIPPINE OBSTETRICAL AND GYNECOLOGICAL SOCIETY PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF HEMATOLOGY & BLOOD TRANSFUSION PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF MEDICAL ONCOLOGY PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF ONCOLOGISTS PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF PATHOLOGISTS PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF PEDIATRIC HEMATOLOGY PHILIPPINE SOCIETY OF PEDIATRIC ONCOLOGY PROJECT: BRAVE KIDS INC. SOROPTIMIST INTERNATION ORTIGAS & ENVIRONS  SURGICAL ONCOLOGY SOCIETY OF THE PHILIPPINES [1] Ngelangel et al (2016). Philippine Costs in Oncology Study.

3,893 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield N.J.

Insurance refuses to pay for Life Saving Operation for Ovarian Cancer

  I am seeking any way I can to get the word out about insurance companies giving death sentences to women diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. I have Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield N.J. health insurance. Three and a half years ago (October of 2014) I received a diagnosis of Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer. Ovarian cancer, according to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, is usually diagnosed after menopause. However, some have been diagnosed as early as their 40’s or 50’s. This is not what you would label an “old person’s disease”. I began treatment with IV chemo, surgery (complete hysterectomy) followed by more IV chemo. By June of 2015 I was in remission.  I was in remission for two years. Two weeks before Christmas in 2017 I was told the cancer was growing. It had now spread to the liver, spleen and diaphragm. My doctors at Cancer Treatment Center of America, Chicago told me my best (and only option quite honestly) is a procedure called HIPEC Surgery. Without this procedure, the cancer will continue to spread. Our insurance pre-certification was submitted and surgery was scheduled for Tuesday, March 20, 2018. On Friday, March 16, after a day of pre-op testing, BCBSNJ notified the hospital the claim was being denied. This was an hour before everything shut down for the weekend. The reason? BCBSNJ is calling it experimental. This procedure was approved by the FDA in 1999. Two appeals have been filed and denied. As an alternative, my doctor wanted to perform surgery to remove the tumors (called debulking). Now we are being told this will not be approved because it was part of the original request for pre-certification. The part of this procedure they are labeling as experimental is a heated chemo placed in the abdominal cavity for two hours. How can they say no to a life-saving operation that has been performed for 20 years?! I have spoken to others who have had the same diagnosis, received the procedure and are living healthy lives today. So yes, there are insurance companies that do approve this. My husband and I are middle class people. He has worked for the same company for 38 years and always thought his insurance would be there when he needed it for either of us. We are currently trying to figure out a way to finance this procedure out of our pockets. BCBSNJ needs to update their coverage!  Please sign my petition and share it. Ovarian Cancer is a devastating disease, but there are procedures that can eradicate it. Insurance companies should be in business to help save lives – not condemn women to a death sentence because of outdated policies!  PLEASE SHARE ....... GET THE WORD OUT AGAINST THESE INSURANCE COMPANY'S.... Thank you!  My friend Joyce started a Fundraiser to help pay for the HIPEC part of the surgery that the insurance wont cover ($35,000). Here is the link. Any thing will help and thank you for sharing this and if you helped with the Fundraiser.        

Janine May
4,301 supporters
Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Scott Gottlieb MD, Jeff Shuren, Sybill Storz, Managing Director, Hal Lawrence, William Maisel MD

Health Alert: Many Women Have Died Unnecessarily Because Dangerous Cancers of the Uterus and Ovaries Are Being Spread using MORCELLATORS. Stop MORCELLATION in Minimally Invasive Gynecological Surgery.

Friends of the Public, Many women have been harmed and have died prematurely or unnecessarily because of a routine but avoidable gynecological practice known as MORCELLATION. This world-wide practice has devastated many families for well over two decades now. More than 600,000 hysterectomies are done in the US every year. By the age of 70, one out of every three American women will have had a hysterectomy. About 90% of these surgeries are done for what is presumed to be a benign condition called fibroids. More and more of these surgeries are done with minimally invasive techniques.  Usually, to get the uterus out of the body using the "minimally invasive" technique, it is cut into small pieces with a machine called a morcellator.  However, a devastating problem happens if in fact the woman did NOT have fibroids – but if she actually had cancer.  Unfortunately, the tests that are done before a hysterectomy do not identify these cancers well.  Many gynecologists don't even bother getting any tests. In fact, morcellating cancer spreads the cancer inside the woman’s body.   This is called ‘up staging’ the cancer.  It is important to understand: 1) The average life span following accidental morcellation of sarcoma is only 24-36 months. 2) Only 15% of woman who have leiomyosarcoma (LMS) that has spread (stage 4) will be alive after 5 years. 3) Women with sarcoma who are morcellated are about 4 times more likely to die from sarcoma than if they had not been morcellated.  This is an avoidable disaster. This problem has been recognized for more than two decades.  A review of the literature, by the Food and Drug Administration, revealed that 1 in 350 women who go for fibroid surgery actually have sarcoma.  This means that everyday 2-5 women in the US – and more around the world are susceptible to having a deadly cancer spread because of morcellation. This catastrophic problem has happened in my family and we are fighting to stop this dangerous activity called morcellation.  A chance of 1 in 350 for such a devastating outcome is much too high to accept.  Women should be told the truth and the practice should stop. Please help us bring an end to spreading cancer with morcellation.  This is a totally AVOIDABLE practice.  People need to understand their options, which include hysterectomy through a mini-lapartomy incision or trans-vaginally – but – up until recently, most women never heard anything about morcellation or about the possibility of cancer upstaging. And, if they do, this risk is down-played by most minimally invasive gynecologists. We can tell you based on our experience, when cancers are spread by morcellation, the outcomes can be devastating - because the cancer is upstaged. We need your help. Please sign our petition so we can get the word out.  We want the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology to change this "standard of care" by ending the needless waste of life caused by spreading cancer with morcellation. For more information and original references see: ) (also see: (also see: The attached video below shows an example of morcellation The following companies manufacture and distribute uterine morcellator devices: 1) ETHICON: Gynecare morcellator 2) Storz: Rotocut Morcellator 3) Richard Wolf Medical Instrumentation Company 4) LiNA: LiNA Xcise Cordless Laparoscopic Morcellator 5) Blue Endo MOREsolution Tissue Morcellator 6) Pneumoliner Power Morcellation System by Olympus Corporation. Intuitive Surgical's Da Vinci Robot deserves special mention, as the frequency of robotic hysterectomies performed by minimally invasive gynecologists is currently on the rise across the United States. Note that Intuitive Surgical builds and markets the DaVinci robot, which is not itself a "morcellator". However, use of the DaVinci robot almost invariably appears to require that the uterus be minced up, or morcellated, into smaller pieces inside the woman's belly cavity in order to extract from the abdomen. A clear example is shown in the following YouTube video of DaVinci being used to perform a robotic hysterectomy and manually morcellating the uterus using the endo-wrist component of the robot (morcellation is being performed at minute 5:30 of the video).  Without morcellation using equipment manufactured by Intuitive Surgical, robotic hysterectomies would, likely, not be possible using the DaVinci Robot. It is noteworthy that the DaVinci robot does not appear to have a readily available warning label advising against its use to morcellate tumors with malignant potential inside the body. The company's Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Myriam Curet, a surgeon herself, has been informed and advised of this severe hazard in the use of DaVinci for robotic hysterectomy and the absence of a readily available warning label.

Hooman Noorchashm
94,192 supporters