Comfort in treatment. With the utmost care for patients on top of its list of priorities, the Benavides Cancer Center has invested in getting advanced equipment, as well as a well-trained staff, to be able to serve the patients better. Photo by Isabela A. MartinezACCEPTANCE is the hardest step for all cancer patients, but the battle against the third leading disease in the Philippines had a lighter view with the presence of Benavides Cancer Institute (BCI) of the UST Hospital.

Armed with a wide variety of facilities for stages of treatment of all types of cancer, the Institute provides modern cancer accommodation, and also prides itself top surgeons, medical oncologists, and other sub-specialists of the disease.

Dr. Teresa Sy Ortin, chairman of the Institute, shared that while the intentions for its establishment were good, the staff did not immediately buy the concept of the center.

“At first, it was hard to gain the support of the medical staff since the idea was new,” she said, adding that economic concerns also came into picture since cancer treatments are expensive.

The establishment houses modern equipments like screening mammography, stereotactic and ultrasound guided wire localization and breast ultrasound, which may be used for assessing breast abnormalities.

It also offers Brachytherapy, an advanced cancer treatment which deals with a focused dose of radiation inside or near the tumor itself.

“BCI is one of the first in the country to integrate all cancer care services in one building,” Sy Ortin said.

A multidisciplinary tumor clinic has also been established enabling two or more specialists to see and assess a patient’s situation at once.

Apart from high-end facilities, BCI has enforced staff knowledgeable in caring for cancer patients and offers lay forums to offer the patients counseling through cancer support groups, forums with cancer
survivors, and meditations like yoga.

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A meaningful struggle

The Institute has not only catered to various types of cancer but to different life stories of the patients as well.

Cervical cancer stage two seems to be a questionable cross for a mother of four with a husband undergoing dialysis, but for 44-year-old Ruby Venasquez, there is no other way around the Big C but to face it.

“It is not easy to accept my condition, but I know that God has His purpose,” Venasquez said. “My siblings kept on telling me that I must fight. Life can be unfair, but it does not stop there.”

She believes that being sick meant seeing things in a different perspective.
“Cancer is all about accepting what should be acknowledged,” Venasquez said.
Romeo Edloy, 56, admitted that his ailment taught him to let his emotions flow, but also made him realize that it was not an emotion worth wallowing into.“Yes, I cried when I knew that I have this stage four cancer of the gums. But I made up my mind that pessimism will not do anything,” Edloy shared despite his discomfort in speaking.

“Pessimism is the only disease which is incurable, I only have cancer,” he added.Despite his healthy lifestyle, the unusual cancer hit him due to hazardous chemicals he encountered working as a seaman. His whole family remained in Chile despite his rare situation, and he only has his niece to assist him

“I have learned to stand on my own feet, cancer survivors do exist, and I will be one of them,” Edloy said. Ana May R. Dela Cruz

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