By KAYCEE REYES
One out of 13. That’s the number of Filipinas that will have breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. Breast cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the country, according to the Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates (PCFE). And if these are not alarming enough, the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society reported that the Philippines had the highest prevalence of breast cancer from among 197 countries in February 2017. So what does this mean?
Unfortunately, there is still misinformation and lack of information among Filipinos about breast cancer early detection and prevention, even more so in rural areas. This contributes to the rising number of breast cancer cases every year.
This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, know these common misconceptions that every female (and even males) should be aware about:
• Only women can get breast cancer. While females have a significantly higher risk (100 times more), males are not exempted from having it. One in 1,000 males get breast cancer in their lifetime, according to the Philippine Cancer Society (PCS).
• Breast cancer is inherited. While there is a higher risk for those who have a history of the disease, PCS reports that 85 percent of breast cancer cases do not have family history.
• Antiperspirants, deodorants, bras, and birth control pills increase the risk of breast cancer. There is no substantial proof that these are linked to a higher risk of the disease.
• Breast cancer can’t affect those who live a healthy lifestyle. It is true that regular exercise, consuming the right food, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and adapting good sleeping habits could lower your breast cancer risk, but these doe not remove the risk altogether. Until now there is still no known specific cause of breast cancer, only risk factors.
• An annual mammogram has got you covered. Mammograms are effective in detecting even early-stage breast cancers and this is why it is important to do so every year especially after 40. But it could also give a false-negative result from time to time, depending on the breast tissue, according to breastcancer.org. This is why a monthly self-examination is still as important.
Aside from sharing what you know about breast cancer, participating in a cause is also a good way to promote awareness and let other Filipinos join the fight against the disease. Avon Philippines, an active corporate supporter of women’s issues, returned its popular run and walk activity this year.
Titled Pink Light Night Run and Walk for Breast Cancer 2019, this activity aims to continue to spread information about breast cancer and to encourage women to perform breast self-examination for early detection of the disease. It was held last Oct. 19 at the Filinvest City Event Grounds in Muntinlupa City. And of course, what added a lot of pink, excitement, and fun to the event was the presence of Color Manila!
What’s different this year was Avon’s very first time for its run and walk activity to be held at night. Participants also held pink light headlamps, symbolizing becoming their own light in shining the truth about breast cancer awareness, early detection, and treatment. Participants were able to donate to the Philippine Cancer Society, Avon’s partner in the cause.
Here’s hoping that more companies follow suit, spread the information, and continue the practice of regular breast selfexamination for early detection and treatment. As Avon says, “no woman should be left in the dark about breast cancer.”