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Breast Cancer is the leading kind of cancer most Palaweños have today, followed closely by Lung cancer, Colon and Head to Neck cancer, and then Lymphoma that includes leukemia, this is according to Dr. Joseph Tovera, an internal medicine and cancer specialist residing in Palawan since 2015.
Tovera’s declaration is not supported by any data and is only based on his personal practice and interaction with the members of Palawan Cancer Support Group.
During a media conference last Dec 5 at Holiday Suites for the upcoming Asin Band Concert, Tovera said that he is convinced that Breast Cancer is the type most Palaweños have today, with patients mostly aged 60 years old and above.
“It’s increasing, every year we get more and more patients, newly diagnosed patients suffering from different kinds of cancer, but still the number 1 cancer is breast cancer,” Tovera said.
There are many factors to consider in having the disease: aging, stress, lifestyle and the food we eat. He mentioned Cuyo island that has many recorded cases, as well as Puerto Princesa City. He also corrected some impressions that only females get breast cancer as there are records that males can also acquire this kind of cancer.
But what bothers Dr. Tovera is the stigma that most of the patients are into, many cancer patients in the province usually just hide and stay away from the public for many reasons, and one of that is the financial capability to augment his/her personal medication.
“Most of them hindi na sila nakakarating kay Doctor, weather generalist or specialist hindi na namin sila naka-catch because of financial reasons. And even yung mga patients na mayroong kaparaanan they cannot overcome the stigma of cancer, parang si kapatibahay ayaw kong malaman nya, si kumare ko ayaw kong malaman nya, they rather keep it themselves na lang or within the family na sya ay may cancer, because may umiikot na social stigma of cancer, this is consistent din across the country hindi lang dito sa Palawan,” Tovera explained.
Tovera believes in having a support group like the Palawan Cancer Support Group, founded in 2015 with originally 20 members headed by former Palawan National School Principal Rebecca Arquero, a Breast Cancer survivor. She led the group in helping other fellow Palaweños who need emotional and spiritual support.
“Very important ang Palawan Cancer support group, yung kapitbahay mong alam mong may bukol na tinatago, this can be addressed by the Palawan Cancer support group, somebody who has experienced cancer very effective yan to tell them na tingnan mo ko, ganyan din ang ugali ko nun, but I broke the chain and now I’m cancer free,” Tovera added.
Arquero admits that her members are mostly after financial assistance. They are thankful to Dr. Tovera for aiding them in many ways, especially those living far away from the city. The group currently has 50 active members, mostly patients, and survivors, and they are still recruiting members to join them and help others who are suffering.
“Lahat ng makakayanan namin na maitulong sa mga may sakit ginagawa namin, but on top of it is always the presence of God, laging ang panginoong diyos ang kinakapitan namin na magpapagaling, ako gumaling sa medical pero I still believe and that strong faith, that its God who is helping me na maging healthy at para makatulong din sa kapwa,” Arquero said.
For those who want to be a member of the group, just fill out the membership form and pay P500, although it is not mandatory as per Arquero because you can be a member whether you pay or not. You can contact Mam Arquero at her mobile numbers 0921.756.7608 (Smart) and 0917.155.1950 (Globe).
Lolita Carbon and Asin Band in concert
Palawan Cancer Support Group is the primary beneficiary of the upcoming Lolita Carbon and Asin Band concert come Dec 19 at 7 in the evening, happening at Skylight Convention Center at Roxas Street in Puerto Princesa produced by Whiteflare Production.
It was Whiteflare Production in-house Director Benjamin Bernardino’s idea to have Palawan Cancer Support Group as the beneficiary of their first event venture that will feature the famed Pinoy Rock Band Asin headed by Lolita Carbon. This is the first time that the band will play and perform in Palawan, even though Lolita been here many times as a solo performer.
“It’s a divine calling when I was driving for my mom, 20 people are gathering for Cancer Support Group. Hindi aware ang Palawan na may cancer support group na puede palang hingan ng tulong, spiritual help kahit advise or primary consultation, alam natin lahat dito na pag may sickness na ganito lipad agad ng Manila. It’s high time to help them,” Bernardino said.
Asin Live in Concert is set on December 19, 2019, at 7 pm at Skylight Convention Center. They set the date of the concert on Thursday to avoid many Christmas parties that usually happens on Friday or by the weekend. It is the first venture of White Flare Production in holding a big event.
“In the spirit of the holiday season, the season of giving, let’s give cancer patients of Palawan a chance by helping them as well,” Bernardino added.
Tickets for Lolita Carbon with Asin and concert are priced at P500 VIP and P300 for the regular patron. For reservations, you may contact Tinii Cayetano at Mobile nos. 0998.156.6262. Front acts of the show are 66 Farenheit, Kapatid, Kirit-Kirit Band, Summer Cake, and Bad Temper.