MANILA, Philippines — At one point, a person~s life may have been touched by cancer. He or she may be a family member, a relative, a friend, a co-worker, a churchmate, even an acquaintance. This writer is not spared for just a few weeks ago, I received news that my wedding godfather is now battling stage IV pancreatic cancer. It~s such a devastating news. Perhaps crippling to his own family. I can only imagine. But what should you do when a crisis like this hits? What type of help can you possibly offer?
Others may call it circumstancial, I call it providential. I was told about his condition days after arriving from a visit to Fuda Cancer Hospital in China. Had it not been for that experience, I may not know what to say.
By now, some people may have already heard or known about Fuda after TV news reporter and host Karen Davila first featured the hospital in "The Correspondent" in 2009.
Located in Guangzhou, China, Fuda discovered and formulated the CCC Treatment Model. The first C stands for Cryosurgical Ablation (CSA), the second is for Cancer Microvascular Intervention (CMI), and the third is for Combined Immunotherapy for Cancer (CIC). Based on the individual~s condition, they apply one or more than one of the three "C"s to treat patients and that combination of several therapies has become a special feature or the hospital.
Fuda has treated more than 10,000 advanced cancer patients with integrative approaches and personalized treatment. Based on their initial estimates, 70 percent of the patients admitted either have none-resectable tumors or they have been treated with chemotherapy and radiotherapy to no effect of they suffer from cancer relapse.
After they have been treated in the hospital, more than 70 percent of these patients experience significant improvement and their survival time has been prolonged, not by months but rather by years. Many patients including those liver cancer patients and lung cancer patients have lived more than five years with the longest survival time of nine years. Some pancreatic cancer patients even live for an additional 55 months.
Filipino Hospital Wing
Recently, the hospital unveiled to the public its new hospital block in Tianhe, also in Guangzhou. At its helm is chief executive president / Prof. Kecheng Xu, a renowned specialist on oncology, gastroenterology and hepatology.
Upon entering the building, one will immediately marvel at how pleasant the atmosphere of the hospital is thanks to its hotel-like interiors complemented with a money changer, a coffee shop and restaurant within its premises. Even the regular rooms of the hospital can be likened to deluxe accommodation with extra bed for the patient~s companion, spacious toilet with a washing machine inside, and a mini-reception area for the patient~s guests. There are suites as well, for those who want the luxury of being able to cook inside their room and an extra room for guests to bunk in.
But perhaps the best news of all is that the hospital dedicated an entire floor to Filipino patients complete with a TFC channel in every room! It~s like a home away from home.
For those who worry about communication, language barrier is not a problem either, the hospital designated coordinators for patients depending on their nationality. And yes, the coordinator for the Philippines is a bonafide Filipino.
Stories of hope
On the homefront, the country has Philippine Volunteers for Fuda (PVF) generating as much information for cancer patients who are looking for treatment options. The group is made up of Filipinos who have received successful cancer treatments at Fuda, including their families and friends who have accompanied them while being treated.
Couple Mike and Chona Dionisio, administrators of PVF website, also among the proponents of the group, share: "PVF was born to provide detailed information and step by step procedure in every step of the way for patients and families to avoid confusion and wrong expectations."
"Through our website, we encourage Filipino patients, families and firends to use these information and share their experiences with others who may find them useful in making the right decision and how to follow easy steps in the process."
At 36, Chona was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare type of cancer that occurs any time during childhood and young adulthood but usually develops during puberty, when bones are growing rapidly. It is 10 times as common in Caucasian children as in African-American, African and Asian children.
"That~s why we were surprised when we learned about it. We did the histopath in Manila but it was always inconclusive. They allowed us to send it to the U.S. and after six months they were able to give a definite answer," says Mike.
To date, Chona is flying back and forth to China and Manila as she continues with her treatments. At the same time, she works as an account manager for Smits Inc., a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation while Mike runs his own IT business, Questronix Corporation. In between, both continue to give as much knowledge as they can about Fuda.
"Through the collective information and voluntary testimonials from former Fuda patients, we aspire to share these to cancer patients and their families to consider a new option for treatments. And as they embark to a new journey, we aim to be their hand-holding partner that will guide them in every step of the way. We desire to put God in control to gain the perfect healing and to eventually lead to a new life and new beginning,"
(For more information on the Fuda Cancer Hospital in Guangzhou, China, call Edward Puno at 09178363680, office numbers 8094453 and 5026458, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com; or call Mike Dionisio at 09189996453, office number 8245212, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit www.pfv.org.ph.)