Perhaps it’s time to dismiss the notion that breast cancer is something that only happens to somebody else’s mom, or somebody else’s sister, or somebody else, period. Because apparently, breast cancer is a little too common in the Philippines.
According to Dr. Eduardo Gonzales on Manila Bulletin, breast cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most common form of cancer among Filipinos.
Below are eight factoids on breast cancer. Hopefully, it will alarm you into action.
1. The Philippines has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Southeast Asia. With about 10,000 cases discovered each year, we also rank ninth highest in the world.
2. It accounts for 16 percent of all reported cancer cases in the country, and nearly 30 percent of all female cancers.
3. According to experts, three out of every 100 Filipinas will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
4. The 10-year survival rate is only at 40 percent, way below the 80 to 98 percent survival rate in developed countries.
5. It’s only curable if it is detected and treated at stage 0 or stage 1.
6. Watch out for mass or lumps in your breast. That’s the most common manifestation of breast cancer.
7. Other things to watch out for: breast pain, skin changes like redness and dimpling, and unusual discharge from the nipple.
8. Women without a personal or family history of breast cancer are still at average risk.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to help you detect and cure it, if not prevent it all together. You can load up on food that helps reduce its risk. Now, while most of it are vegetables, we’re happy to say red wine made the list.
More important than eating healthy is undergoing periodic screening test. Mammography is still the only recommended screening test of the American Cancer Society. It can detect breast tumors long before they can be felt by your fingers.
According to Dr. Gonzales, Women from 40-44 years old should start getting mammograms on a yearly basis. This should help detect cancer at a very early age, and cure it.
Illustration: Madel Crudo
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