In jest, she says the medicine makes her prettier
MANILA - Senator Miriam Santiago disclosed that she has been diagnosed with stage-four lung cancer. But she remains in high spirits, optimistic that she would get well with the help of a "magic tablet" that she is taking.
Speaking in a press conference, Santiago said the diagnosis came last week but said that the cancer is not spreading.
"Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce myself to you as the only senator who has been diagnosed with lung cancer as of last week. I have cancer of the left lung which makes it hard for me to breathe," she said.
She added that her cells have developed a capacity to fight it off and does not have to undergo chemotherapy.
"This is good news. When they were examining my biopsy, my lung for the cancer, they discovered that today, certain persons like myself, who are very, very lucky, have been what they call as genetic mutation. Maybe from living a healthy life. I don't smoke, I don't drink, commit adultery. I only tell lies to my husband.
"Anyway, when they were doing this, they discovered that I have a very rare condition which is called behavioral mutancy. By themselves, my cells in my left lung have developed a genetic mutation that makes them impermeable to cancer and which gives them energy to fight off cancer nearby," she said.
"In my case, they are very, very well behaved. I believe I have been disciplined all my life even my cancer cells are showing discipline."
Santiago has started to take a "molecular targeting" tablet that gives her treatment without the side effects of chemotherapy.
She jested that taking it once a day has made her "grow prettier every day."
"I hope to be able to see you in six weeks fully cured of cancer," she said.
Santiago said her doctors have no clue how she got the cancer, pointing out that she and her husband do not smoke.
Santiago is taking things in stride. "I am very excited. I am not kidding. I said, 'Yes, I got cancer.' Because now I am entering another dimension of human life. That has always been my attitude," she said.
If things worsen, she said she would go to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California where her sister works as medical doctor.
"After six months, by this tablet, they're expecting that the mass or the tissue will simply degenerate, meaning to say it will just shrink by itself and it will no longer be there. But if it does not do that, that means things have gotten worse. I have to go to Cedar Sinai, which for me is a source of great grief, because it's a very expensive hospital," she said.