Rafi celebrates Pink October
THE Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi) joins the nation in celebrating the “Pink October” or Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Eduardo Aboitiz Street in Cebu City is in a festive mood as pink buntings hang overhead. The celebration kicked off with a ribbon cutting headed by Ronald delos Reyes of Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center.
Dr. Joselito Almendras of UC-Med, Chong Hua Hospital Career Center manager Dr. Maychelle Cabañesas and Cebu City Councilor Mary Ann delos Santos also witnessed the event.
Delos Reyes revealed that based on the data from Metro Cebu Population-Based Cancer Registry, Cebu has 200 new cases of breast cancer every year, of which seven out of 10 patients are aged 45 and above and three are below 45 years old and in metastatic stage. Close to eight for every 10 diagnoses died of breast cancer within five years. At least 120 breast cancer deaths are also recorded every year in Cebu alone.
From 2003–2012, Metro Cebu has tallied a total 2,870 cases of breast cancer with 1,428 mortality.
Delos Reyes clarified that the foundation only accepts breast cancer patients during their early stage or up to stage 2.
The foundation provides continuing cancer care and awareness campaign to their patients.
“Aside from screening, primary treatment assistance, surgical operations and radiation treatment, we also give psychosocial support to our patients, especially the indigent ones,” Delos Reyes said.
Patients who do not qualify will be referred to other agencies such as the Cebu City Hospitalization Assistance and Medicines Program or CHAMP, the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Central Visayas and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, among others.
Delos Reyes revealed that the foundation is currently helping more than 200 patients diagnosed with breast cancer, thyroid cancer and reproductive health-related cancer.
Anne Georgia Crystal Solante, team captain of the Cebu Pink Paddlers Dragon Boat team, has also shown their support to the activity. Solante is a cancer survivor and a wife of former broadcaster and now vice mayor of Tudela, Greman “Jojo” Solante.
Last October 2 and 3, the group participated in the 2017 Keelung International Dragon Boat Festival in the Breast Cancer category in Taiwan, where they won gold in both 500 meters and 200 meters race.
As a cancer survivor, Solante said she wants to share her experiences to other breast cancer patients to boost their confidence and to inspire other people.
She said her disease also changed her life and made her closer to God.
“It made my faith to God stronger. Aside from that, we should follow conventional treatment. Treat it and beat it,” Solante said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Almendras revealed that the Cleveland Clinic is now developing vaccine for some particular types of cancer.
“They are now doing genetic study for breast cancer. They are also working on developing a vaccine for cancer,” he said.
He added that surgery alone can’t treat cancer and that multi-disciplinary approach is needed.
Dr. Cabañesas also suggested that cancer should be treated through holistic approach.
“We are now considering complementary treatment for cancer like massage, acupuncture, yoga and tai chi, among others,” Dr. Cabañesas said.
She also reiterated the importance of early screening and regular check-ups.
“Let’s not wait that we will be diagnosed in the late stage of cancer,” she added.
As part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month celebration, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation will also hold “Moonwalk,” a walk to raise breast cancer awareness on October 28.
The assembly area for this year’s Moonwalk will be at Fuente Osmeña Circle at 4 p.m., wherein participants will walk to the Capitol Grounds where a short program will be held.
The program will feature testimonies and presentations of various cancer survivors.
Participants are requested to wear pink, to remind fellow Cebuanos to be aware about cancer, especially breast cancer.
Moonwalk is an advocacy campaign of Rafi held every full moon of October to promote the importance of observing monthly breast self-examination for women aged 20 and beyond.
The activity is also supported by the Cebu provincial government, Cebu City government, Department of Health in Central Visayas, Cebu Cancer Fight Incorporated and I CAN SERVE Foundation.
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