In line with the observance of Women’s Month, a barangay in Pasig City on Friday gifted women residents by providing free breast and cervical cancer screening.
To protect them from two of the most common types of cancer among women in the Philippines, Barangay San Antonio (BSA) in Pasig City joined hands with the Philippine Cancer Society (PCS) and the Rotary Club of Makati-West (Rotary Makati-West) for free breast and cervical cancer screening.
Dr. Romeo Marcaida, PCS program director and head of the outreach program, stressed the importance of early detection and diagnosis of cancer.
“About 27,000 every year are diagnosed with breast cancer and the scary part here, only about 64 percent of them survive. For cervical cancer, on the other hand, more than 7,000 are diagnosed yearly, and it’s even scarier because only 50 percent of them survive,” he said.
“We’re doing a screening which is the prevention,” he added. “Our target is early detection. When you detect it early, it’s a lot easier to treat.”
BSA chairman Raymond Lising expressed gratitude to their partners for providing their services for free.
“This is the harsh reality for Filipinas — a lot of them are not aware of the importance of early breast and cervical cancer screening and detection, while others know but cannot afford these tests,” Lising said.
He said the gift of early screening and detection is the best contribution they can give to female residents this Women’s Month. He thanked the PCS and Rotary Makati-West for making the event possible which he said is the first of its kind in their barangay.
Despite affecting a huge number of Filipinas, many still do not undergo breast and cervical cancer screening only to find out about their condition when it’s already too late, according to the journal Preventive Medicine Reports published in October 2022.
Jan Antonio Campos, a BSA resident and member of the Rotary Makati-West, said he is delighted to be part of the outreach program in making early screening and detection accessible to fellow residents.
“We provided the mobile van for screening and targeted 80 to 100 women initially. To our surprise, we were able to encourage 120 women to get tested,” Campos stated.
Marcaida also noted that to get screened for breast and cervical cancer, one needs to spend thousands of pesos in private centers and hospitals.
“We’re doing the ultrasound for free. Ultrasound is also PHP2,000 in private [hospitals]. We’re doing it for free,” he said.
Despite all these tests, he emphasized that screening will always be cheaper than treatment, adding as well that late-stage cancer has minimal chance of survival.
“For late-stage, the chance of survival is very small, up to 20 percent. While if you’re on early stage, 60 to 80 percent. That’s why screening is important,” he noted. “Don’t be afraid because prevention and early detection is the key for survival and fighting against cancer.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breast cancer is the leading cancer in women, with an estimated 2.3 million new cases and 685,000 deaths in 2020, while cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women, with an estimated 604,000 new cases and 341,000 deaths in the same year.
In Asia, both types of cancer continue to pose a significant public health challenge, with considerable variations in incidence, mortality and risk factors across different regions and countries.
Presidential Proclamation 227, series of 1988 declares the observance of the Month of March as Women’s Role in History Month and Republic Act 6949, series of 1990, declares March 8 of every year as National Women’s Day which aims to give recognition to the contributions of Filipino women in our society. (PNA)