Simula nang mamatay ang anak ni Tirso Cruz III na si Teejay noong November 2018 dahil sa cancer ay dedicated na ang daily Instagram post niya para sa anak.

Dito ay kinukuwento niya ang nangyayari sa kanilang pamilya at kung anu-ano pa. “GODly heavenly morning TJ! Am at work again today. It’s also the birthday of your tito Sen. Jinggoy Estrada. We also had dinner w/ your tito Arnel & tita Telly who are here on vacation right now. And also with friends from the U.S. Mary Ann Pimenta and her husband Pastor Henjie. As usual, we had dinner at SHABUNOKI which incidentally is opening an extension of the place. I’m sure you would eat heartily here specially with your enormous appetite. Hehehe. How we miss you TEEJ! Love you my boy,” ang recent IG post ng veteran actor.

Isa ang veteran actor and lung cancer survivor Tirso Cruz III sa mga pinakabagong ambassador ng Hope From Within, isang multi-stakeholder advocacy program na pinamumunuan ng MSD Philippines. May ginanap na isang forum na may temang Voices of Hope: a new era in lung cancer care bilang paggunita sa World Cancer Day ngayong February.

Sa ginanap na forum sa Manila Diamond Hotel, iba’t ibang issue tungkol sa cancer ang napag-usapan kabilang na dito ang paglaganap ng lung cancer sa Pilipinas at ang fighting chance nito para sa mga pasyente na may naturang sakit.

Ayon sa datos noong 2018, “International Agency for Research on Cancer recorded 18.1 million new cases of cancer and 9.6 million deaths worldwide, with over 80,000 people of those deaths occurring in the Philippines. This alarming statistic puts cancer as a top healthcare burden, not just locally but also worldwide.

“Among all cancers, lung cancer remains to be one of the most common in the world and in the country, and one of the deadliest in terms of being a non-communicable disease. In 2018, more than 17,000 cases of lung cancer were recorded in the Philippines, and more than 15,000 deaths occurred out of these incidences.”

Na-highlight sa naturang event na sa kabila ng napakataas na statistic ng bilang ng mga Filipino cancer patients, napakalaki pa rin ng chance na makaka-survive sila.

Mas marami na ring treatment options na accessible dahil sa better research at collaborative action, ganun din sa mga bagong mandato tulad ng National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA).

Nasa event din ang broadcast journalist and Hope From Within’s first ever ambassador Diego Castro, veteran actress and caregiver Susan Africa. Parte rin ng panel si Dr. Herdee Luna, multimedia associate ng Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO).

Ilan sa mga napag-usapan ay ang kanilang karanasan sa naturang sakit. Common knowledge na yumao noong 2018 ang asawa ni Susan Africa na si Spanky Manikan dahil sa lung cancer.

Ayon kay Tirso, importante na magkaroon ng regular check up. “Sa pagpapagaling, nothing beats early detection. According to medical experts, there’s a higher chance of survival when a disease like cancer is detected early. So anong dapat gawin? Do what most people do regularly. Have your regular check-ups. Magpa-check-up at the soonest possible time.”

Sobrang awakening para sa aktor ang pagkakaroon ng nasabing sakit. Lesson daw ito para mas alagaan ang ating sarili. “Not because you’re feeling well it means everything is okay,” dagdag pa niya.