Press Release
July 22, 2015


Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, on medical leave from the Senate, said she was "elated and gratified" by two recent developments: she received a special visit and had special consultation with one of the world's leading lung cancer specialists; and she was named one of the top three presidential candidates by a recent survey firm.

Santiago has been under treatment by her correspondent doctor, Dr. Mark Kris, a distinguished medical oncologist who serves as chief of the Thoracic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. In addition, he holds the Joy Ruane Chair at the same Center. He is also a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College specializing in lung cancer. Sloan Kettering is the world's oldest and largest private cancer center, which began with support from John J. Astor and John Rockefeller, Jr., and has served the world for more than 130 years. In 2014-2015, it was ranked the number one hospital for cancer care in the United States.

Kris had a consultation with Santiago together with her team of local doctors consisting of: Dr. Esperanza Cabral, cardiologist; Dr. Gary Lorenzo, oncologist; and Dr. Ruth Divinagracia, pulmonologist. The consultation was held last Friday, July 17.

The team, together with Kris, examined at the St. Luke's Global City Medical Center all the PET (Positron Emission Tomography) and CT (Computed Tomography) Scans which Kris had already fully studied in his New York clinic.

Kris said that although no patient can be pronounced cured of cancer, Santiago, while following the medical prescriptions of Kris, has been able to control the cancer, meaning that cancer growth in her left lung has been arrested.

In his three-day whirlwind visit, Kris also delivered medical lectures at the Asian Hospital and the St. Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City. He was accompanied by another distinguished Filipino working out of San Francisco, the famous heart surgeon, Dr. Alexander Yap.

At present, Santiago occasionally participates in Senate work, but mostly remains in her La Vista house, where she has produced two best selling joke books and the latest 2015 editions of over two dozen law books.

Interest in Santiago's health was aroused when supporters posted on her Facebook page a video of Santiago from the back. At present, the senator exercises by walking some two kilometers everyday.

In another development, Santiago said she was "happily surprised" by the publication in a news website of a survey by Publicus Asia listing the following in the order of voter preference for the presidential elections: Grace Poe, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Jejomar Binay, Francis Escudero, Rodolfo Duterte, and Mar Roxas.

All of the above candidates are active in government service except for Santiago, who is on qualified medical leave from the Senate. This means that she is allowed to be absent because of her cancer, but at the same time, she is also allowed to participate, if necessary, in certain official Senate activities.

"To remain in the consciousness of voters despite an absence of over a year is certainly a challenge, including remaining in public service. And I consider it in that light," Santiago said.

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