[MANILA, Philippines March 28, 2019]
Four organizations have taken a decisive step this month towards improving the quality of care for elderly cancer patients so that the Philippines would be in a better position to handle this incoming “grey tsunami”.
Today – the International Society for Geriatric Oncology (SIOG), the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), the Philippine Cancer Society and the Philippine College of Geriatric Medicine (PCGM) have come together to work on delivering an Advanced Training Course on Geriatric Oncology for clinicians in the Philippines.
“We at SIOG are excited to bring our highly regarded Advanced Course in Geriatric Oncology to Asia for the first time – and doubly excited that we are doing it in the Philippines. We hope that this would be the start of a national Training of Trainers effort to get Philippine-based clinicians more informed on the complexities of treating older patients with cancer” says Prof. Hans Wildiers, who is the current President of SIOG. “As older patients have variable health status, the need for proper integration of an oncologic and a geriatric approach has become increasingly important,” he continues.
“The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like cancer has risen among crisis-affected populations. Humanitarian agencies such as the Philippine Red Cross are now increasingly challenged with how to effectively tackle NCDs”, says Senator Richard Gordon, Chairman. “We hope that by hosting this advanced course, our volunteer clinicians will be better equipped in serving the population that we work for - indigent elderly citizens stricken with cancer – as we need guidance on tackling this in crisis-affected settings”.
“Having led the cancer-coalition of various civil societies that worked tirelessly in getting the Cancer Law of the Philippines passed – we at the Philippine Cancer Society is now looking towards putting this law into action by building capacity in the Philippines on knowledge and expertise on geriatric oncology. We are excited to be a partner of this advanced course and we hope that this would be the start of many more trainings in the Philippines. We need this expertise” says Dr. Corazon Ngelangel, President.
Dr. Edwin Fortuno, the President of the Philippine College of Geriatric Medicine adds “Aging entails a greater need of care for aspects related to primary aging (physical changes due to aging) and to secondary aging (ailments with risks increase in old age). Undoubtedly, cancer risk increases exponentially with age. About 60% of cancers occur in people 65 years of age or older. Furthermore, about 70% of the deaths caused by cancers occur in this stage. Therefore, cancer is a disease of old age.”
The SIOG Advanced Course aims to bridge the twin specialties of geriatrics and oncology. The course faculty is organized in such a manner so as to complement the works and findings of local/regional experts. The core faculty conducts these sessions, by injecting knowledge, skills and experience focusing on the geriatric oncology perspective, which could include tumor perspective (highlighting the relevance of age and differing biology), geriatric aspects (the impact of physiological reserve on treatment options/dosing) and the value of geriatric assessment (GA) in selecting treatment (systemic vs local, surgery vs radiation, etc.).
“The SIOG Advanced Course is key to what SIOG is doing within its mandate of training oncologists and geriatricians as well as developing high-standard and fine-tuned treatment options and care for older cancer patients” says Dr. Etienne Brain, the Past President of SIOG. The course offers clinical case discussions as a practical approach to sharing knowledge, technique and experience of the faculty to the course attendee – to have a more “intimate” view so that participants can see the insights to the decision-making process of these experts when coming up with treatment protocols.
“For SIOG, our work with PRC, PCS and PCGM is the first of what we hope to be a number of regional partnerships that we aim to implement in order to work with countries and improve access to expertise in geriatric oncology” adds Dr. Najia Musolino, CEO of SIOG.
------- END ------
Barbara Ewals (Director for Partnerships)
Mobile: +66 81 9968816
FOR PHILIPPINE RED CROSS
Angeli Mae Cantillana (Officer-in-Charge, Communications Office)
Mobile: +63 925 8050596
FOR PHILIPPINE CANCER SOCIETY
Romy Marcaida (Head, Research & Patient Navigation Program and Services)
Mobile: +63 917 5762909