Breast Cancer PH Statistics

The Philippines is at the center of the fight against breast cancer in Asia. The country has the highest incidence of breast cancer in the continent and an estimated 3 out of 100 Filipino women will contract the disease before age 75; 1 out of 100 will die before age 75, according to the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology in 2012. This complements the Department of Health and Philippine Cancer Society, Inc. report, which states that breast cancer is the most common cancer in thecountry, comprising 16 percent of the 80,000 new cancer cases in 2010.

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Early detection is still considered the best weapon in combating the disease. Routine self-breast examinations, mammograms and vigilance in observing changes in the physical form of the breasts and nipples are key to preventing the disease from advancing. Other factors in lowering one’s risk are limiting alcohol intake, no smoking, controlling one’s weight, exercising, limiting the dose and duration of hormone therapy, and the avoidance of exposure to pollution and radioactive substances. Also among the many advantages of breastfeeding is that it lowers incidence of breast cancer.

According to R. Malilay, et al, financial constraints, fear of cancer recurrence, fear of and lack of time and resources for radiotherapy, distance from radiotherapy centers and lack of information on breast-conserving options are the top reasons why patients prefer to have the affected breast removed. The result of the preference for this treatment option is a whole new set of social and psychological burdens that patients have to deal with in connection with the loss of one breast or both. Rebuilding a woman’s confidence and facilitating her return to normal activity after mastectomy are becoming priorities for the country’s health and beauty industry.
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