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The Medical City launches the PhilHealth Z-Package for Colorectal Cancer

The Medical City Colorectal Cancer
The Doctors of Medical City
Did you know that aside from celebrating Fire Awareness Month, this March we are also celebrating Colorectal Cancer Awareness month? It may not be apparent, but colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the world, and it is the same in the Philippines (after breast cancer and lung cancer). Its numbers surpassed liver cancer, which is now fourth. But like all these types of cancer on the list, colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable.
My own grandmother was a colon cancer patient, and given that cancerous genes run through the blood that means me and my siblings are also at risk. What is perhaps more shocking is that we only discovered her illness when it was already in Stage 4. The warning signs passed us by, which is a shame because effective treatments exist for colorectal cancer once it’s discovered in its early stages.
The clarion call for colorectal cancer awareness was sounded again as The Medical CIty held a press conference about this preventable disease. Various doctors and oncologists shared their expertise not just on the disease but also on how the renowned hospital helps in treating it. Dr. Marciano Ruiz talked about screening, while Dr. Josephine Tolentino talked about the concept of “holistic oncology” which considers medical and non-medical aspects of healing. Then, Dr. Dion Santana talked about the PhilHealth package that is just what those suffering from the disease would need.

A Trusted Help

Like many other cancer types, colorectal cancer starts as small polyps that eventually develop into malignant growth. But while still in the polyps form, these cancers are still preventable. All we need is a trusted physician to give the diagnosis and prescribe the treatments.
This is where The Medical City comes in. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. Medical City is one of those elite medical institutions, internationally recognized and certified. It’s highly likely that it charges a premium for something as serious as cancer, right?
Not really. The Medical City is among the group of hospitals that offer the Philhealth “Z Package”. This package covers a set of illnesses (“Case Type Z”) that when not detected and treated early could lead to a poor prognosis. By this nature, such diseases often require prolonged hospitalization — which is a very pricey affair.
Generally, the Z Package covers a portion of various expenses, depending on the “pathway” or the type/kind of disease. Expenses covered include hospital ward fees, medications, laboratory exams, professional fees, operating room fees, and more. This is then sustained throughout the entire duration of the treatment.
In actual amounts, PhilHealth could cover anywhere from PHP 100,000 to PHP 450,000 for colorectal cancer, depending on the stage of the illness. This means that for the whole span of the treatment, the patient could still shell out anywhere from PHP 100,000 to PHP 300,000 — but this is a much smaller amount than what would normally be paid, especially for a cancer treatment.
The goal of The Medical City is to provide quality healthcare, and to continuously improve the delivery of its service. That’s why it has partnered with PhilHealth to deliver the Z-Benefit Package to all patients who are non-metastatic, from Stage 1 to Stage 3. PhilHealth members who are classified under charity Classes 1 and 2 (including all those members whose income is less than PHP50,000 per year) would also benefit from the ceiling amount of PHP 300,000, meaning their share of costs would not exceed this for the whole duration of the payment. For a disease that can cost millions to treat in a state-of-the-art facility as The Medical City, this is a real godsend.

Wait… how do I know if I’m at risk?

Now, I understand that this would all seem far-fetched to you if you think you’re not a cancer candidate. But given the prevalence of colorectal cancer in the country, we should all take precautions to make sure we’re not among its victims.

Here are some of the risk factors that could put you squarely in this disease’s sights:

  • You are at least 50 years old and older. Screening is a must at this point, especially if you already have a family history of colorectal cancer.
  • You are a smoker or a drinker.
  • You live a sedentary lifestyle, and/or are obese.
  • You have a diet full of saturated fat, or one that is high in red meat and low in fiber.

If you satisfy any of the above descriptions, then the following tests will be of help to determine whether or not you have (or are at risk of developing) colorectal cancer.

  • Stool test, which measures if there are traces of blood coming from your colon
  • Colonoscopy, which involves laxatives and colon cleansing. The procedure is usually done while sedated.

In the sad event that the tests return positive, then The Medical City has a full suite of equipment and expertise to eradicate the cancer cells. Whether it be surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and holistic aspects such as complementary medicine, wellness practices (meditation, yoga), and more!

How do I know I qualify for the Z-Package?

 A person who wants to apply for the package would have to bring a set of basic documentary requirements, including the following:

  • PhilHealth Member’s Data Record
  • Member Empowerment Form
  • Philhealth ID

Other documentary requirements would be distributed and signed upon admission to the program. The Medical City would conduct initial assessments to ensure that the disease is not metastatic (or spread in the other organs). The initial phase would also include primary care. If everything goes well, then the patient would be enrolled in the Z-Package

Come to think of it, it is hardly humane for a patient suffering something as serious as cancer to be saddled with medical bills far beyond their reach, and with medical care that is below-par. The Medical City strives to amend this, giving the best care possible without the bank-breaking and debt-riddling price tag. After all, colorectal cancer is preventable and treatable, especially when caught early.


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