Cancer

by Miguel Migallos, Website and Publications Director, RxPinoy
I understand how it feels to have a family member with cancer. I lost my own sister to metastasized breast cancer just a few years ago. She
was only 42.

I know the frustration of not having access to the information needed
to find a cure for the disease. Believe me all my siblings and I know
what it's like to feel helpless to save someone dearly loved.

But I am a little incensed by your sweeping generalization that there
is no initiative to have useful cancer information available to the
public.

I help run RxPinoy, a directory of doctors and dentists in over 90
specialties in the Philippines. Our online directory lists thousands
of physicians, and is free to use by the general public.

RxPinoy also has an online facility called Ask-a-Doc, where anyone on
the net can ask health-related questions FOR FREE from any of over a
hundred volunteer doctors, dentists and other health professionals,
including pharmacists and psychologists.

Furthermore, RxPinoy is involved with the award-winning public-service
daily health talk show Doctors On-Line on DZAS AM radio, hosted by
FLoramel Joy Songsong, owned by the Far East Broadcasting Corp., a
non-profit Christian organization. We help by supplying guest experts
once a week to talk about everything health, from autism to pregnancy
to nutrition to eyeglasses, and yes to cancer, too. You name it, we've
handled it. We've coordinated the guest appearance of over 200 doctors
on that show, over the last four years.

I manage a community blog called RxPinoy MyHealth, in which actual
questions that have been asked and answered on the radio show and on
Ask-a-Doc are featured, to help educate the public.

I also write a second blog, called RxPinoy Technophyte, whose sole
purpose is to figure out how technology can be used to improve the
terribly inefficient exchange of information between patients, doctors
and the medical industry.

We even print RxPinoy Health Digest, an annual publication that brings
together excerpts of the most useful info from all of the above
initiatives. The print version is our way of reaching Filipinos who do
not use the Internet on a regular basis. It is distributed free to
select areas and groups across Metro Manila.

My group and I have focused our time, our effort, and all our
resources, over the past six years, to the dream of empowering
Filipinos with the information needed to properly manage their health.

Our solution may not be perfect, but we're giving it all we've got.

Besides, it's not as if the United States, with its mighty research
institutions, has solved the problem of cancer. Just last year, I
recall an article (in Time? Fortune? I can't remember) that called
into question the net gains of billions of dollars that have been
poured into cancer research since Richard Nixon and the National
Cancer Institute declared war on cancer in 1971.

Gathering and disseminating information takes time, costs money,
requires commitment.

For so many months I have tried to get people to contribute their own
personal health stories to RxPinoy MyHealth, because I feel that the
collective experience of those who've experienced a disease, honestly
narrated, will help those who are going through it for the first time.
Unfortunately very few have been interested.

And yet every week, students keep writing us, demanding answers on so
many questions for their homework or their term paper. These students
even have the gall to say, "Hope you reply as soon as possible,
because my project due in a few days."

Jesus.

Everyone feels entitled to all the information they want, and yet no
one is willing to lift a finger and contribute their own. As if cancer
statistics were just lying around on the ground, waiting to be scooped up.

In closing, mec sexy, I will accept what you say about the Philippines
not having enough information on cancer and health, and lacking
resources to make that information available. That's the Philippines
for you. That's life.

But please lang, I can't accept anyone saying that there is no effort,
no initiative. I have dedicated my life to health information for
Filipinos. You don't get to invalidate what I do with a casual,
unsubstantiated comment.

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