According to Globocan 2012 of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Philippines ranked as the 6th country in Asia and the 2nd country in Southeast Asia with the highest incidence of breast cancer. The country has a breast cancer age standardized rate (ASR) of 47/100,000 population which means 5 out of 100 women will develop breast cancer before the age of 75.
This distressing statistic is a major concern in the country, especially with the disease remaining as the leading cancer among women to date. In response, many advocacies and campaigns have been developed to improve these figures.
“Every time we talk about breast cancer, we always see negative statistics. The thing is, it’s curable. So why aren’t we projecting numbers of lives that were saved from this disease instead?” expressed Ann Christine Palisoc, President of Philippine Wacoal Corporation.
Early detection is the most effective solution to breast cancer management. Studies support that survival rates increase the earlier the cancer is detected with treatment during stages 0-3 providing the best chance of survival. This is supported by statistics from Cancer Research UK which reports that 90% of women who were diagnosed earlier have a better chance of recovering from the disease than those diagnosed during the advanced stages.
Monthly breast self-examination is suggested for women at the age of first menstruation. Those in the same age range to their 30s are also recommended to have a clinical breast examination (CBE). For women aged 40 and above, having a CBE and mammogram yearly is advised.
“There is no shortage of options that can be used to detect breast cancer early. The problem is that people do not always understand the significance of early detection,” says Palisoc. She continues, “This is why building breast cancer awareness is still very important. We need to inform the public. If they are properly educated, then they will build the initiative on their own.”
Philippine Wacoal rises to this call with its 10-year-long Keep Abreast Campaign, an advocacy that centers in informing the public about the importance of early diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of breast cancer. For this campaign, Philippine Wacoal has partnered with non-profit organization Gift2Life, Inc. to conduct free seminars to build better public awareness on the subject.
In addition, Philippine Wacoal Corporation also conducts clinical breast examinations after the seminars. This year-round advocacy also sells pink ribbon souvenir items to its customers to raise funds which will be donated to Gift2Life, Inc. and the Philippine Foundation for Breast Care, Inc.
The company is a subsidiary of Wacoal Corporation, Japan’s leading brand of female undergarments. Other than its quality products—which the company boasts to be supported by intensive research, the corporation has also made a name in the international and local market for building and valuing consumer trust.
Palisoc shares, “As a brand trusted by many, we have taken it as our responsibility to give back to society. This is our way of reaching a helping hand, because everyone deserves to be protected from this disease.” She finishes, “Live an active and healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly, minimize stress, and most of all, know your risk factors. Be aware. It can save your life.”
The Keep Abreast Seminar will be held on October 3 and 17, 1 pm, at Ateneo Rockwell. Everybody is invited to join and learn more about breast cancer. To register, please contact Ms. Concel Pangilinan at 892-5706 or 09178907620. No entrance fee is needed to participate.