Access TB Project
May 5, 2023
PBSP, AstraZeneca, CCPh bring innovative approach to detect lung cancer

PBSP, through the ACCESS TB project, recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Phils.), Inc.

Access TB Project
PBSP, AstraZeneca, CCPh bring innovative approach to detect lung cancer

Mandaluyong City, 3 May 2023– Despite global advances and innovations, lung cancer tops the list for cancer-attributable mortality in the Philippines. In 2020, the Global Cancer Observatory reported a total of 17,063 lung cancer-related mortality, which is18.4 percent of the total cancer-related deaths in the country. ( Global Cancer Observatory, 2021). 

While efforts have been made to create an affordable and accessible cancer treatment for all, there are still gaps in the screening and early detection of lung cancer among Filipinos. 

Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP),through its Advancing Client-centered Care and Expanding Sustainable Services for TB (ACCESS TB) project, recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Phils.), Inc. and Cancer Coalition Philippines (CCPh) to provide end-to-end lung cancer ecosystem solution to improve early detection and reduce out-of-pocket expenses of cancer patients in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and CALABARZON.

 

SCREEN TO BEAT LUNG CANCER 

In2019, a global collaboration called ‘The Lung Ambition Alliance’ was formed with the goal of making lung cancer a preventable cause of death. Spearheaded by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Phils.), Inc., the pharmaceutical and biotechnology giant brought the Screen to Beat Lung Cancer Program in 2021 to the Philippines with the objective of expanding the access of early cancer screening and precise diagnosis in order to avoid lung cancer and increase patient survival. 

Through the Screen to Beat Lung Cancer Program, the three organizations will expand access of early cancer screening and ensure to provide affordable treatment, and overcome the barriers in detecting lung cancer at an early stage. 

During the MOA signing, PBSP Executive Director Elvin Ivan Y. Uy highlighted the importance of the partnership between business and nonprofit sectors to assist the Department of Health (DOH) in fighting cancer in the country.

 

“Apart from tuberculosis (TB), lung cancer is also our utmost priority to help the Department of Health in early detection of the disease and lessen the economic impact of cancer nationwide. Multidisciplinary actions and involvement of key stakeholders are an integral part in improving the well-being of Filipinos with cancer and their families who care for them,”Uy said. 

Cancer survivor and Vice-President of CCPh, Ms.Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala shared her story and advocacy in fighting the disease with high hopes to break the stigma when it comes to lung cancer.

“We are very happy to find out that we have a chance today to undo the stigma of lung cancer, there is a chance for hope and breath of life is given to this kind of cancer. I hope this initiative can inspire other dreamers, innovators, and leaders to do all they can so that there is no prejudice towards any kind of cancer or cancer in general,”Magsanoc-Alikpala said.

 

TB AND LUNG CANCER SCREENING IN THE BIG THREEREGIONS 

To curb the incidence and mortality rate of tuberculosis(TB) and lung cancer, PBSP ACCESS TB and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Phils.),Inc. plan to strengthen the screening strategy through Active Case Finding(ACF) activities in the National Capital Region (NCR), Region 3, and Region 4A.This initiative is one of the strategies of the ACCESS TB project to find the so-called “missing cases” of TB in target communities nationwide. 

During the screening, X-ray equipment enhanced with Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities will be able to identify patients at the beginning of the disease, giving them a better chance of surviving cancer. The use of deep learning technology is critical in accelerating the detection of lung cancer and reducing the financial burden on every cancer patient. 

The partnership carries a common vision anchored from the objectives of Republic Act No. 11215, the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA). It also aims to contribute to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 3, which includes the reduction of premature mortality from non-communicable diseases. 

AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals (Phils.), Inc. Country President, Ms. Lotis Ramin emphasized the importance of the partnership and how it can particularly help low- or middle-income households. 

“Our collaboration with PBSP and Cancer Coalition Philippines will drive forward meaningful improvements for Filipinos with lung cancer. We are committed in creating value for the Filipino society beyond the impact of our life-changing medicines through early detection and education, which can make a huge difference in the survival outcomes of Filipino lung cancer patients,” said Lotis Ramin, country president of AstraZeneca Philippines.

 

The MOA signing concluded with the ceremonial signing of a pledge of commitment to fight the disease in the Philippines and acknowledge the call to action for lung cancer to receive the attention warranted for better patient outcomes.

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