BAGUIO CITY — Advocates among surgeons encourage both men and women to do regular self-examination for the early detection of breast cancer.
“Kunin natin nang maaga,” Dr. Bayani Tecson told the public through the Wednesday Kapihan. He added the earlier cancer is detected and treated, the better for the patient and the attending physicians.
Doctors say most suspected cancers may be felt and seen. “Sometimes, we do not have to see or touch the breasts physically. By just listening to the patients family history and personal experience, we can tell already,” Tecson said.
He said doctors would be happier to see less patients coming for surgery or mastectomy.
Statistics show that breast cancers is the most common of cancers in women, but there are men who also develop it.
Dr. Antonio Bautista, head of the Disease Prevention and Surveillance Unit of the Department of Health said one in 1,800 Filipinos has breast cancer and one of eight cancers in women is breast cancer. “One in 28 cases succumbs to fatality,” he warned.
Bautista said the incidence is lower in the Cordillera, but it might be due to lower diagnosis.
The incidence of breast cancer is higher as the age group in women gets higher. In the above 25 age group, it is one in 19,000, but there are cases involving 18-year olds.
Because of the statistics, doctors encourage all women above 35 to undergo a regular screening for breast cancer. They said mammography is affordable and available in local hospitals, although some recommend an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) because it could detect even the smaller lumps that normally do not show in a mammogram.
Minda’s Buddies Pres. Marivic Bugasto lost her breasts and all reproductive organs to cancer. At 50, she is battling a stage 4 bone cancer that started with her breasts. She speaks of her own experience with the big C in fora and gatherings and she continues to inspire people to support her advocacy.
“It runs in the family,” she said citing that three other kin have cancer.
Bugasto also attributes cancer to a faulty fatty diet, sedentary lifestyle and abuse of alcohol and cigarettes.
Herself an advocate and a Minda’s buddies benefactor, Councilor Pinky Rondez said the council encourages information dissemination efforts. She said it is a woman’s battle to fight breast cancer because it is her link to the people’s health and well-being, citing the breast-feeding advocacy. # LVR