Every October is pink to raise awareness about breast cancer. This can be seen even in social media feeds of celebrities and local beauty queens to programs by local barangay LGU’s. Last year, it was Miss Universe runner-up Maureen Wroblewitz’s main advocacy, given she lost her mother to breast cancer. Around the same time, the Lapu-Lapu CIty government even lit the Marcelo Fernan Bridge in pink. But behind all this fanfare is the fact that breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death among women in the Philippines. It is a disease that affects women above the age of 35, especially those with a family history of breast cancer.
The good news is that over the last few decades, breast cancer survival rates have been going up worldwide. This is because breast cancer is one of the most treatable forms of cancer when detected early, and many women have been able to get tested and treated early. The challenge is, most women that have early stages of breast cancer do not feel symptoms, and when they do, it may be when the cancer has already spread and it is too late.
The Importance of Mammogram
For a decade, Dr. Mary Lou Te-Charcos has been treating breast cancer patients in her clinic in Hi-Precision Mandaue. “ In the Philippines, breast cancer tends not to be diagnosed right away or as early as possible. The patients already come when symptoms are not as mild, some of [the patients] already have big masses, some come with pain, with abnormal nipple discharge already.”
Tests like mammograms are the most effective for determining early signs of breast cancer- as it is a low-dose X-ray that identifies potential malignant tumors or masses in the breasts.
There are many reasons why women are hesitant to take the test. Some women are scared of the discomfort or pain they might feel, as breasts are pressed to the machine. Others are worried about the price for a medical test, especially with the holiday season coming in a couple of months.
That is why Hi-Precision offers a 50% discount for the mammography test for the whole month of October, to assure patients that this much-needed test is accessible for all women who need it. With regards to the pain, Dr. Charcos says, “During the procedure, the breasts are pressed so there is really discomfort because it is very very short and very tolerable especially given that the new machines are faster nowadays. I assure my patients that it is better to have an early diagnosis than delaying the test which may become more of a problem down the road.”
According to Dr.Charcos, yearly testing is recommended for women over the age of 40 or with a family history of breast cancer. The best time to get tested is one week after the last day of menstruation, because that is when the breast tissue is the most visible for the mammogram machine.
Breast cancer is still the leading cause of death among women in the Philippines, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Take the time to consult your doctor and get tested, because it may save your life.
This month, Hi-Precision Diagnostics Cebu is offering a 50% discount for its digital mammography test, available in our Cebu Main branch located at 28 J. Llorente Street, Cebu City. To know more about our mammogram and other tests, visit Hi-Precision Diagnostics Cebu on Facebook or contact via landline at 888-2222 or cellphone/Viber at 0917 770 3638.