Most breast cancer patients refuse treatment
Marigold Lebumfacil (The Freeman) - October 9, 2013 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - In observance of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) Breast Center Clinic head Dr. Saleshe Tracy Anne Fernandez is urging all women to have screening to detect early signs of breast cancer.

“Breast cancer is curable if detected early and treated,” Fernandez said yesterday during the AGIO-7 forum.

Fernandez said that VSMMC has a around 3,000 breast patients as of their 2012 census. Although not all of them have cancer.

She said 227 have been diagnosed with cancer but only 30-percent of them allowed to be treated while the 70-percent did not anymore come back for treatment.

Fernandez said that she has observed that the number of patients have increased this year compared to last year although she has no data available as of yesterday.

VSMMC General Surgery head Dr. Benjamin Auguis said that they have around 120 patients who were already in the advance stage of cancer and could no longer undergo operation.

Fernandez said that early detection ranges from stage 1 to stage 3A, which can still be treated through surgery. She classified the three with stage 1 having a mass of two centimeters (cm) or less, stage 2 having a mass of more than 2 cm or less than 5 cm while 3A has a mass of more than 5cm.

There is also stage 3B and 3C which masses have exploded and lymph nodes near the collar bone, respectively. VSMMC has intensified its awareness campaign to encourage breast cancer patients to undergo treatment.

 â€œWe must diagnose breast cancer and it should be treated early because the earlier it will be detected, the earlier it will be cured,” Fernandez said.

Among the probable cause that the patients would no longer come back to the hospital after being diagnosed with breast cancer is that they are afraid of the diagnosis, financial problem and a matter of attitude and perception, she said.

“That is our biggest challenge on how to follow-up these patients who refused to be treated and were just lost. We lack man power to do this. We have to intensify our advocacies and reach out to all areas, conduct forums and breast examinations,” Fernandez said.

Auguis said that for those patients with PhilHealth, they could already avail the Z-package, wherein it has a coverage of a hundred thousand just enough to cover the surgery.

Fernandez, on the other hand, said that the common cause of breast cancer is still unknown but the two non-modifiable factors on why women get breast cancer is by being a woman herself and growing older with age.

She said that those women aging 30 years above should advocate screening practices which include monthly breast self examination, annual health breast examination conducted by specialists and annual screening mammogram.

As part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, both Auguis and Fernandez are proposing to VSMMC management to once again offer free screening for the whole month of October.  (FREEMAN)

AUGUIS AND FERNANDEZ BREAST BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH BREAST CENTER CLINIC CANCER DR. BENJAMIN AUGUIS DR. SALESHE TRACY ANNE FERNANDEZ FERNANDEZ GENERAL SURGERY PATIENTS VICENTE SOTTO MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER
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