DOH eyes expanded PhilHealth coverage for thyroid cancer

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THE Department of Health wants to include the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer under PhilHealth’s coverage.

“This is to encourage our countrymen to have themselves checked and to consult before the problem worsens,” Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo said during the observance of National Thyroid Cancer Awareness Week in Quezon City.

At present, PhilHealth’s care package for thyroid cancer patients only include confinement and operation.

Thyroid cancer, dubbed as the “friendliest cancer” because of the high chance of survival reaching up to more than 90 percent, is the seventh most common cancer in the country.


Despite being a “friendly cancer,” it still needs attention because it affects the thyroid which produces hormones that control the body’s metabolism.

The usual remedy for thyroid cancer is thyroidectomy or the removal of a part, half or the entire thyroid. Yet the battle with thyroid cancer does not end there.

Nemencio Nicodemus, Jr., president of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism, said post-operation processes for thyroid cancer patients such as radioactive treatment and hormone maintenance are not included in PhilHealth’s care package.

Radioactive Iodine (RAI) Therapy is a carbon-activated tablet that a patient needs to take only once.

Patients however will have to take hormone maintenance medicine daily to aid the body with the necessary hormones for metabolism.

This will cost patients P20 a day.

Republic Act 10786, approved in May this year, declares the fourth week of September as the National Thyroid Cancer Awareness Week.

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