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Justice Buenaventura Guerrero




Justice Buenaventura Guerrero, 76, has every reason to

celebrate life now that his greatest challenge is behind him.

This man who has served 40 years in government service

until his retirement as Senior Associate Justice of the Court

of Appeals in 2004 thought he could finally stop and smell the

roses after his retirement. However in 2005, there was

something he had to face that was bigger than everything

he's ever faced before. This time, Justice Guerrero was going

to fight and defend his right to live.


In 2005, he was diagnosed with a malignant growth in his brain

and was given only six months to live. He was only 71 years

old at that time.


Prior to the diagnosis, Justice Guerrero did not exhibit any symptoms, until one fateful incident. "We were having lunch at a restaurant with my balikbayan brother-in-law in Gingoog, Misamis Oriental during a two-week vacation when he suddenly grew weak and almost fell to the floor on his way to the restroom," Mrs. Yolanda Guerrero, his wife of 44 years, narrated. After that, they flew back to Manila and Justice Guerrero immediately sought a medical check-up and examination at one of the hospitals in Manila. The problem was doctors couldn't find and identify what was wrong with his brain nor could they advise the correct treatment. The solution they were presenting was whole brain radiation therapy, which is not the standard form of treatment for patients like him.


Justice Guerrero's family was all set to leave for the United States to seek more advanced medical consultation and treatment when they learned that what leading hospitals had in the United States in terms of cancer care can also be found at St. Luke's Medical Center. "A close physician-friend said treatment was available right here and it was at St. Luke's that we finally got the right answers to our questions. At that time we wanted to have the full support of the family while we were going through this. If treatment had not been available here, the family would have been so torn with Justice Guerrero being overseas." Under the primary supervision of Dr. Joven Cuanang, St. Luke's SVP for Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, who also turned out to be his kababayan from Ilocos Norte, Justice Guerrero received excellent healthcare cancer management at the hospital. A dream team of cancer experts, among them Dr. Manuel Mariano as his neurosurgeon and Dr. Julette Batara as his neuro-oncologist, are his top healthcare managers.


Under expert hands, Justice Guerrero underwent image-guided neurosurgery to establish the histopathologic diagnosis of his brain tumor which turned out to be a Primary Central Nervous System Lymphoma (PCNSL). PCNSL can start in the brain, spinal cord, or meninges (the layers that form the outer covering of the brain). Because the eye is so close to the brain, primary CNS lymphoma can also start in the eye (called ocular lymphoma)."


"If improperly treated or not treated, the patient's survival rate will only be four months," said Dr. Batara. "At St. Luke's, Justice Guerrero underwent high-dose chemotherapy to inhibit the recurrence of his lymphoma," she added.


Justice Guerrero passed the four-month period and is now in complete remission. He only needs to go for regular checkups with Dr. Batara.


Justice Guerrero has nothing but praises for the kind of expert healthcare management he received from St. Luke's. "I really felt the genuine concern of the doctors, nurses and staff. They were very competent, caring and good," he added. In terms of the services, he likewise said that "St. Luke's has cleaner facilities, fast service and a very responsive staff. "


The Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center treats patients with benign and malignant brain tumors at all stages of their disease. A team approach assures that each patient is in the care of neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists and other associated specialists.


The physicians of the St. Luke's Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center offer a wide spectrum of advanced strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of Brain Cancer including microsurgical tumor removal, guided stereotactic techniques, stereotactic radiosurgery and novel, targeted chemotherapies.


The Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center puts together all of the components critical to managing patients with brain tumors: comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis, leading edge treatment options, thorough follow-up and psychosocial support. Patients are welcome whether they are newly diagnosed or have already received extensive treatment.


The patient is the focus of all of the diagnosis and treatment skills of the St. Luke's interdisciplinary team of specialists who treat the rarest as well as the most common cancers.


St. Luke's is the only healthcare center in the country to be affiliated with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute, the world's most prestigious cancer center.


To learn more about St. Luke's Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center and its services related to brain surgeries, please call (632) 723-0101 (Quezon City) and (632)789-7700 (Global City). You may also visit our website at



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