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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Philippines no. 1 for breast cancer among 197 countries |

Health And Family

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Philippines no. 1 for breast cancer among 197 countries

Ratziel San Juan -

MANILA, Philippines — Educating the public about diseases and available treatments is a job we often forget doctors have. Most of the time, we simply turn to Google for our medical information needs.

Nonetheless, even a wealth of medical sites that offer reader-friendly advice and a catalog of diseases can quickly turn into a tool of misinformation among the untrained.

While we can try our best to diagnose our own ails, it’s probably better to seek the doctor’s informed prognosis.

Oncologist Rachel Rosario, Philippine Cancer Society Executive Director, has encountered just about every misconception there is about breast cancer among women and she’s here to set the record straight.

Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, here are five common myths said to put a woman at higher risk of breast cancer, according to Rosario:

  1. Wearing tight bras
  2. Wearing underwire bras
  3. Trauma to the breasts, such as accidentally being pinched or punched by a child
  4. Having bigger breasts
  5. Sleeping faced-down

“These are all myths,” Rosario allayed. 

“They have not been medically associated with an increased risk in breast cancer.”

She also said that women who have breast cancer generally seek the same treatment options as other cancer patients.

“There is still surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormonal therapy. These are still available for alor l our patients.”

Dr. Rosario said oncologists like her are excited about the new Cancer Law or National Integrated Cancer Control Act signed last August because it will not only give patients better access to funds for treatments, but also allocates budget and resources for cancer education and prevention.

Rosario believes the new law can also make people more aware of the burden that cancer gives not only to patients but also to their loved ones. The law, she said, also allows government to monitor cases closely, leading to more precise statistics and prognosis.

Breast cancer remains one of the top causes of death among Filipinas. In fact, according to the Philippine Council for Health Researchand Development, one in 13 Filipinas will develop breast cancerin her lifetime. In addition to this, the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society reports that the Philippines has the highest prevalence of breast cancer among 197 countries.

Despite these alarming statistics, many Filipinas still do not do the breast self-exam, the surest way to detect the disease early. Many of these women forego the exam because they are either scared or pressed for time. But if the exam were ingrained as a habit among Filipinas, many would be able to fight the disease before it’s too late.

In support of Philippine Cancer Society, Avon Philippines recently launched its first Pink Light Night Run and Walk for Breast Cancer 2019 to raise awareness on the disease and remind women to do the breast self-exam regularly.

Slated on October 19 at 7 p.m. in Filinvest City Even Grounds, the run offers 3K, 5K, or 10K distances, with tickets available at the websites of Color Manila, SM Tickets and Travel Book.

“We’ve always cherished our relationship with Avon,” said Dr. Rosario. “They have been a constant and committed partner in our advocacy, and instrumental in establishing the Breast Care Center in PGH, which has helped save many women’s lives and continues to serve even more. We hope that their campaign this year will invite more women to commit to their health seriously.” — Videos by Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo, editing by Kat Leandicho

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