Philhealth accredits 13 hospitals to treat prostate cancer

THE Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (Philhealth) has signed up 13 hospitals countrywide to treat prostate cancer cases at a packaged rate of P100,000 per patient.

Philhealth identified the enlisted hospitals as the National Kidney and Transplant Institute and Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City; Philippine General Hospital in Manila; Rizal Medical Center in Pasig City; Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in San Fernando City; Cagayan Valley Medical Center in Tuguegarao City;

Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center in Cabanatuan City; Batangas Regional Hospital in Batangas City; Bicol Medical Center in Naga City; Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City; Northern Mindanao Medical Center in Cagayan de Oro City; Southern Philippines Medical Center in Davao City; and the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City.

“We’re now in talks with other public as well as private hospitals to see if they can be contracted to treat low to intermediate-risk prostate cancer cases at the packaged rate,” said Philhealth president and chief executive Dr. Eduardo Banzon.

“The P100,000-benefit payment covers the full cost of treatment, hospitalization and professional fees,” Banzon said.

Prostate cancer is the second most widespread cancer among Filipino men, after lung cancer, according to the Department of Health.

Most prostate cancers grow slowly and never pose a threat. However, some prostate cancers advance rapidly to the bladder, rectum, bones and lymph nodes, and cause death inside months or a few years.

Prostate cancer tends to develop in men over the age of 50. Men with a positive family history of the cancer in a brother or father are considered at higher risk of developing the disease.

Since the cancer responds best to treatment when detected early, men have been encouraged to have their first prostate health check between 40 to 50 years old.

Many low-risk prostate tumors require no more than constant surveillance. Treatment of higher-risk tumors usually involves surgery, irradiation, and hormone control therapy. Forceful treatments such as chemotherapy may be applied in extremely advanced cases.

The male prostate is a reproductive system gland that helps make semen, the fluid that contains sperm. The prostate surrounds the tube that carries urine away from the bladder and out of the body.

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