The pink ribbons – a visual reminder of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is out again this October.

There are about 27,163 new cases in the country, making breast cancer the most common type of cancer among Filipinos according to Dr. Clarito Cairo, the Department of Health’s Program Manager for Philippine Cancer Prevention and Control. 27 Filipinos die of breast cancer daily and when you sum it up it goes to 9,926 per year. With this, the Philippines is ranked no. 1 for breast cancer among 197 countries worldwide.

Early detection of breast cancer can help improve outcomes, including survival rates. Did you know that:

  • Approximately 62% of women with breast cancer are diagnosed at an early stage, for which the 5-year survival rate is 99%.
  • Only 6% are diagnosed at stage 4, for which the 5-year survival rate significantly drops to 27%.
  • The 10-year survival rate among Filipino women with breast cancer is estimated to be only 57%, which is much lower compared to that in developed countries.

This lower survival rate is primarily due to a lack of awareness and low screening rates, resulting in a higher proportion of late-stage cases. Inadequate access and excessive cost of treatment also significantly contribute to the higher morbidity and mortality rates seen among Filipino breast cancer patients.

How Do I Manage my Signs and Symptoms?

Prevention is always better than cure. Breast cancer prevention starts with healthy habits. Here are some lifestyle changes you can do:

Limit alcohol The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. The general recommendation — based on research on the effect of alcohol on breast cancer risk — is to limit yourself to no more than one drink a day, as even lesser amounts increase risk.

Maintain a healthy weight If your weight is healthy, work to maintain that weight. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor about healthy strategies to accomplish this. Reduce the number of calories you eat each day and slowly increase the amount of exercise.

Be physically active Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which helps prevent breast cancer. Most healthy adults should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week.

Breast-feed Breast-feeding might play a role in breast cancer prevention. The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect.

Take Anti-Inflammatory Supplements Invest in supplements with Omega-3 Fish Oil. Their anti-inflammatory properties are good for keeping your body and skin healthy along with lowering bad cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure, and lowering triglycerides levels.

This Breast Cancer Awareness Month let us continue to stand together in the fight against this disease, advocating for better research, better treatment, and a brighter, cancer-free future for all. Remember, knowledge is power, and together, we can create a world where breast cancer is not a threat. Thank you for reading, sharing, and acting. Your commitment to breast cancer awareness is a beacon of hope for those in need.