Good News: Filipino women get free mammography screening

November 16, 2010 1:56 am 

MANILA, Nov. 15. -– With the increasing incidence of breast cancer in the country, the Philippine Cancer Society, Inc. (PCSI), has signed an agreement with Springfield Breast Cancer Center to provide free digital mammography to Filipino women and prevent the spread of breast cancer through early detection.

According to the 2010 edition of the PCSI Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates, breast cancer is the leading cancer site for Filipino women with an estimated 12,262 new cases every year, and annual deaths of 4,371.

“Only through early detection of breast cancer can we be able to bring down the mortality rates attributable to breast cancer. Our partnership with Springfield is just the beginning of more programs for cancer patients as we look forward to more Filipino women becoming aware of the importance of breast screening,” says PCSI chairman Dr. Roberto M. Paterno.

The Society advises women to visit the PCSI Consultation and Referral Clinic on Mondays or Wednesdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. for free breast examinations. They will then be given certificates to avail of free mammography services from Springfield Breast Care Center. PSCI office is located at San Rafael Street, San Miguel, Manila.

According to SBCC president Dr. Romeo H. Diaz, Springfield Breast Care Center is a diagnostic clinic that boasts of the latest in breast cancer detection equipment including a digital mammography machine and ultrasound equipment. It is located at the ground floor of SM-X Convention Center, Mall of Asia, Pasay City.

This free mammogram screening is another worthwhile program of PCSI after its partnership last month with the Department of Health (DOH) to improve the survival rates of women diagnosed with breast cancer through the soon-to-be launched Patient Navigation Scheme, a medicine access program, targeting indigent Filipino women diagnosed with early stage of the disease.

Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona also expressed full support to the new partnership, adding that providing medicine entitlements to poor and vulnerable sectors for priority diseases like cancer is a move that will be pursued by the DOH within the next five years. Cancer currently ranks third among the top killer diseases in the country.

Both the DOH and the PCSI aim to promote early breast cancer screening, particularly among poor women by providing assured access to medicines as well as other forms of support to the patient. The program is meant to highlight the advocacy that breast cancer is a curable disease when detected, treated and managed early.

Breast cancer is now the leading cancer site, overtaking lung cancer for both sexes in the Philippines. It is also the number one cause of cancer morbidity and mortality among Filipino women accounting for almost 30 percent of all female malignancies.

Latest data reveals that three out of every 100 Filipinas are likely to develop breast cancer in their lifetime and that one out of every 100 are likely to die from the disease before age 75 (Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates 2010).

The DOH said that in Asia, the Philippines is among the countries with the highest age standardized incidence rate for breast cancer. Survival rate for breast cancer in the Philippines is below 40 percent compared to the high survival rates of 80-98 percent already achieved in developed countries.

Breast cancer cases, the DOH added, are projected to increase in the Philippines in the coming years with factors such as smoking, unhealthy lifestyles and decreasing fertility.

In August, this year, the Philippine Cancer Society vowed to more strongly rally behind government efforts to improve care for cancer patients in response to the appeal of Secretary Ona to do something about the increasing burden of cancer in the Philippines. (PNA)

DCT/LAB/utb

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