ICanServe Foundation participated in the 2024 Philippine National Cancer Summit (PNCS) held from February 29 to March 1 at the Novotel Manila Araneta City in Quezon City. The summit is organized annually by the Philippine College of Surgeons Cancer Commission Foundation (PCS-CanCom) in partnership with Philippine Cancer Society and Cancer Coalition Philippines (CCPh), of which ICanServe is a founding member.

Themed “Advancing Integrated Cancer Care Systems for the Filipino,” the two-day event gathered healthcare professionals, patient groups, national and local government representatives, and the business sector, with the aim of collaborating and sharing innovations in cancer care to change the landscape of cancer treatment and management in the country.

ICanServe founding president Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, who also serves as CCPh vice president of Internal Affairs and a director of PCS-CanCom, led the turnover of the discussion paper and Manifesto of Support for Patient Survivorship, a product of the “Inspiring Conversations” five-part roundtable series on breast cancer survivorship in the Philippines.

The turnover was followed by a panel discussion entitled “Beyond the Pink Ribbon: Empowering Patients to Navigate the Healthcare Maze for Better Cancer Survivorship.” Moderated by Alikpala, the panel included Dr. Cecille Montales, Taguig City Health Office’s Executive Assistant for Health, who shared how ICanServe’s flagship breast cancer control program, Ating Dibdibin, as implemented in Taguig, has become a best practice model for patient navigation at the community level.

“Patient navigators coordinate everything — from surgical consultation to diagnostic workups to treatment schedules, then after treatment, monitoring. From start to finish, the navigators are there,” shared Dr. Montales. “Patient outcomes improved because of the coordination done by patient navigators. These patients will likely attend diagnostic follow-ups and treatment schedules. Handholding greatly helps patients to go through the process,” she added.

Launched in the country in 2008, and in Taguig City in 2012, the program institutionalizes the promotion of early detection, early diagnosis, access to timely and quality care, supportive care, palliative care, and patient navigation via local ordinance. Taguig’s Ating Dibdibin program officers, doctors, 42 patient navigators, and Pink Crusaders support group were also present at the Summit.

ICanServe president Nikoy de Guzman participated in the panel forum session “Creating a Circle of Care: Supporting Everyone on the Cancer Journey,” which tackled the challenges faced by the primary caregivers of cancer patients, and ways to provide them with support.

Members and volunteers of ICanServe and PGH’s Kaboobs Support Group were also in attendance to learn, collaborate, and to share in the fellowship of the cancer community.




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