February 28, 2024

A one-stop shop to help breast cancer suspects and patients navigate through screening, prevention, and treatment is envisioned by Mayor Benjamin Magalong after hearing about the city’s breast cancer death toll of 230 from 2018 to September this year.

During the management committee meeting on Oct. 24, it was learned the city is expecting to receive a mammogram machine, which is used in basic screening and detection of breast cancer, from Department of Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa’s health facility enhancement fund, along with other medical needs.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong also shared the development in a forum on Oct. 14 for breast cancer patients.

The one-stop shop would help in screening breast cancer suspects, help in the financial side of treatment, and navigate patients through medical options of treatment. 

In another media forum, Baguio oncologist and haematologist, Dr. Jasmin Igama, stressed the importance of undergoing early detection and screening in the prevention and treatment of breast and other types of cancers.

Igama said based on the Global Cancer (Globocan) Statistics 2020 report, breast cancer has surpassed lung, colon and liver as the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer worldwide,

She said screening should be done early, especially for those who have a family history of breast cancer, as around 65 percent of patients come for consultation very late and already in the advanced stages.

She said breast cancer could be caught in very early stages as there are now numerous and additional options for treatment after surgery, which include hormone, chemo and radiation therapy. Advanced technology also provides options for angiogenesis inhibitors, targeted and proton therapy.  

Igama added the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center cancer treatment facility is “almost overwhelmed” at times due to the deluge of local patients and those from outside the city.

Dr. Donnabel Panes, City Health Services Office medical officer IV and City Epidemiology Surveillance Unit chief echoed Igama’s plea for early screening, as early detection is crucial in the prevention and treatment of breast cancer and other diseases.

Earlier, CHSO head Dr. Celiaflor Brillantes reported there are an estimated 27,163 new cases each year, making breast cancer the most common type of cancer among Filipinos.

She said while many successfully undergo treatment, 9,926 Filipinos still succumb to breast cancer every year. – Gaby B. Keith and Julie G.Fianza