Breast Cancer Awareness Month or BCAM is being celebrated this October with the theme “United We Fight” which emphasizes the importance of early breast examination and screening to fight breast cancer. BCAM is celebrated yearly to help increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and its prevention or treatment. During this event, all local and international organizations advocating for breast cancer awareness gather to celebrate and expand the reach of different programs for early detection and prevention of the said disease.
Breast cancer is a disease where cells in the breast multiply abnormally. This can be detected through self-breast examination and screening. It may develop in men and women but it is more common in the latter. According to the Department of Health, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women in the Philippines. For every 100 women, 3 women are estimated to develop breast cancer before the age of 75 (Philippine Society of Medical Oncology). In the Cancer Country Profile 2020 of the World Health Organization, breast cancer is also considered the most common type of cancer in the Philippines and has the highest incidence rate of 17.6% followed by lung cancer with an incidence rate of 12.2%.
In line with this campaign, the Department of Health developed the Breast Cancer Medicines Access Program in 2011 in four (4) pilot sites namely—East Avenue Medical Center, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, and Philippine General Hospital—and two (2) expansion sites namely—Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, and Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital. A forum is also conducted to educate women on the importance of screening and self-breast examination. According to the DOH, there is a total of 3,000 patients who received free cancer medicines through this program this year.
Breast cancer is very common in women. That is why we should look out for each other and support those who are fighting this battle. It is highly important to know how lifestyle and diet can contribute to cancer prevention. Prevent breast cancer through healthy living by eating a variety of nutritious foods and engaging in regular physical activity.
Let us spread awareness about breast cancer and encourage women to do breast self-examination or have themselves examined and screened for breast cancer. Early detection of breast cancer leads to better treatment outcomes.
Provincial Nutrition Focal Point Diana Jean A. Umali and
Nutrition Program Coordinator Milagros Elisa V. Federizo
- Philippine Cancer Control Program (https://doh.gov.ph/philippine-cancer-control-program)
- DOH Tells Women: Check your Breasts Regularly(https://doh.gov.ph/node/15696)
- Philippine-Based Filipino Women and Breast Cancer (https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1067&context=hpd_con_stuetd)
- Cancer Country Profile 2020 (https://www.who.int/cancer/country-profiles/PHL_2020.pdf)
- Where can we access medicines for this program? (https://doh.gov.ph/faqs/Where-can-we-access-medicines-for-this-program-BCMAP)
- DOH LEADS OBSERVANCE OF THE BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH 2021 (https://doh.gov.ph/press-release/DOH-LEADS-OBSERVANCE-OF-THE-BREAST-CANCER-AWARENESS-MONTH-2021