Vice President Jejomar C. Binay on Thursday said the new Pediatric Cancer and Hematology Center of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) would help address the lack of specialized cancer centers in the country.

Binay, who was the guest of honor during the groundbreaking of the new P16-million cancer center said that construction of the 20-bed facility would end the need to patients and their families to “scour the land for referrals and cures.”

“Beneath a single roof, timely treatments and bona fide specialists can be found,” he said.

The Vice President said that the difficulty in putting an end to cancer did not lie in the lack of cure, but rather caused by the lack of oncology centers in the country, which hampered the early diagnosis of the disease.

He lauded Health Secretary Enrique Ona for designating PCMC as the end-referral center for pediatric oncology, saying, this would help in early cancer detection in children.

“In pledging to build this facility, you have committed to establishing a place where children can find the most effective treatments and technologies that science holds. I am sure that you will apply all your powers and resources to find a cure for each patient that walks through your doors,” Binay said.

According to PCMC, the 20-bed facility is the first and only of its kind in the country.

The groundbreaking of the cancer center coincided with the observance of World Cancer Day on February 9.

Binay also said although the problem of childhood cancer is higher in the Philppines is higher compared to Western nations because of the relatively young population in the country, “childhood cancer is no longer a certain death sentence.”

“The International Confederation of Cancer Patient Organizations (ICCPO) declares that eight out of ten cases have great chances of success if they are treated at specialized pediatric oncology centers, such as the one that will rise on the ground we break today,” he said.

The Vice President asked PCMC officials that “the utmost human care” should be given to patients in the course of their treatment.

He said that the new facility should “permit the chance to heal not just the disease but the souls of those who suffer together because of it.”

“Just as cancer challenges the patient and the family, it is my prayer that whatever remedy you propose permits the family to face this trial as one. The most thorough treatment is important, but it should never isolate the patient from the parental love that they need, crave and long for during their time of trial,” he said.