Gov't eyes cheaper cancer scanning services in public hospitals

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 29 2019 04:24 PM

MANILA- State health officials are eyeing cheaper cancer scanning devices in public hospitals to detect the disease at its early stage.

Officials of the Department of Health, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), and various government hospitals said they are eyeing to lower cancer detection fees using PET-CT scan machines.

At present, use of the machine is priced between P60,000 to P100,000.

Only 2 hospitals in the Philippines have the said equipment, PNRI Director Dr. Carlo Arcilla said.

Positron emission tomography and computed tomography are important in the early detection of cancer to determine the kind of treatment the patient should receive.

Arcilla said they are now planning to train more people to operate PET-CT scan machines.

With the help of Russian medical experts, the PNRI targets to make the cancer scanning machines accessible to the public, particularly the poor, at the price of P20,000.

“Yung P20,000 puwede mo nang pagtiyagaan or ipangutang," he said.

(You can already save up for the P20,000 or borrow it from someone.)

"With the Universal Health Care [Law] baka marami pang matulungan (maybe more people would benefit),” he added.

Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said the DOH is looking at the possibility of covering the PET-CT scan procedure under the Universal Health Care program by next year.

“To detect and treat. It’s not only for diagnosis, 'yung nuclear medicine is also effective in the treatment of patients with cancer and a lot of other diseases,” Domingo told ABS-CBN News.

In the Philippines, cancer remains the second leading cause of death next to heart ailments.