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Breast cancer is the most prevalent in PH

/ 05:16 AM October 18, 2012

Breast cancer survivors (from left) Maritoni Fernandez, Bibeth Orteza Siguion-Reyna and Melissa de Leon. Breast cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most prevalent form of cancer in the country, the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology said on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012.

MANILA, Philippines—Breast cancer has overtaken lung cancer as the most prevalent form of cancer in the country, the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO) warned Wednesday.

Doctor Felycette Gay Lapus, PSMO president, also said that the Philippines had the lowest survival rate of people with breast cancer among 15 Asia countries.

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“So, we are number one for breast cancer in Asia. Three out of 100 (Filipino) women will get breast cancer before age 75 and one out of 100 will die before reaching 75,” Lapus said at a PSMO press conference in Edsa Shangri-La hotel in collaboration with pharmaceutical giant Roche.

The medical community has designated October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

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“(Breast cancer accounts) for 15 percent of all new cancer cases (in the Philippines) for both sexes and eight percent of all cancer deaths. So, you can just imagine the magnitude of the problem,” Lapus said.

With these distressing statistics, Lapus emphasized the importance of women checking their breasts for lumps every month and to have them checked by their physicians annually.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of early detection in breast cancer management. This is especially true now when there are options for treatment that weren’t available to everyone before,” she said.

Lapus said that PhilHealth, under its “Z Package,” now provides P100,000 for members who are in the early stages of breast cancer. They also need not go to Manila if they are in far-flung areas as PhilHealth has designated hospitals across the country where people with breast cancer can seek treatment.

“The earlier the cancer is detected, diagnosed, and treated by the team of medical oncologists the better the success rates. Treatment for early breast cancer, stages 0-3, is very important in terms of survival,” she said.

Doctor Corazon A. Ngelangel, of the Philippine General Hospital, said doctors were still trying to find out why breast cancer had overtaken lung cancer as the most common form of cancer in the country.

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