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Pinoys in New York to raise funds Oct. 4 for breast cancer project in PHL

September 14, 2012 7:58am

A community forum aimed at raising funds for the first mobile mammography unit in the Philippines will be held on Oct. 4 at the Kalayaan Hall of the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue (between 45th and 46th Street) in Manhattan.
 
Program is 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., with reception to follow.
 
The mobile unit, called MAMMOvan, is designed to provide free and easily accessible mammography services to indigent women across the Philippines and help battle breast cancer through early detection and community efforts.
 
The forum will bring together oncologists, breast cancer survivors, community leaders and concerned citizens to discuss a cancer control imperative which will alleviate the burden of the No. 1 killer of women in the Philippines.
 
Following the forum is a reception with a sumptuous “pica pica” (Filipino tapas), along with wine and dessert.
 
This breast cancer project is spearheaded by a local coordinator, in cooperation with the Philippine College of Surgeons, Northern Luzon Chapter; and the Philippines Foundation for Breast Care, Inc.
 
Donors will have a chance to win fabulous raffle prizes, including a four-day Hamptons weekend, a week’s stay in a Makati condominium, month-long membership at Manhattan Athletic Club, a vintage designer gown, designer jewelry, six yoga sessions at YoYoga Studio, and a free consultation with a nutritionist.
 
For ticket information, call any of the volunteers: angelicaceciliacu@yahoo.com, alanya.green@gmail.com, ajohnson@nyp.org, leahcba@optonline.com, Fe.Baun@nychhc.org, sclemente@nyc.rr.com, ccorra4828@aol.com or elaine0275@gmail.com
 
To become a corporate sponsor, contact pasclem@nyc.rr.com
 
To request a white paper, contact dcbaquiran@gmail.com
 
Highest mortality rate
 
Among Asian countries, the Philippines has the highest incidence rate and the highest mortality rate of breast cancer with 40 percent die from the disease; 70 percent of patients are indigents.
 
In 2010 alone, there were 12,262 cases of breast cancer recorded in the Philippines, with cervix uteri cancer in a distant second with 4,812 cases.
 
According to a study of breast cancer in the Philippines, there is a lack of early detection practices for curable diseases especially breast cancer and very little coverage by health maintenance organizations for wellness and prevention programs.
 
Economics play an important role because mammograms are not readily available or accessible, and if they are, the costs are a deterrent.
 
Since mammogram is the most important detection tool to help reduce the risk of Filipino women dying from the disease by as much as 35 percent, and in women 50 years and older by up to 30 percent, underprivileged Filipino women can greatly benefit from the arrival of mobile mammography units or MAMMOvans.
 
For the past 20 years, MAMMOvans have been serving underserved and disadvantaged communities in various regions around the world for free.
 
The vans also attract the insured population because the women favor the ease of scheduling and location.
 
In other words, no patient is turned away.
 
The cost of a mammogram in the Philippines was prohibitive ranging from P750 (government subsidy) to P2,000 (private facility).
 
Mammogram rates were low and recall was lower.
 
In one of the trainings with 180 barangay health workers, only one participant has had a mammogram.
 
The rest, women in their 50s, have never had one.
 
Further investigation showed that a newly acquired “hand me down” unit was yet to be installed in a city hospital with no trained technician available.
 
A local government official was convinced that this unit would be able to screen many patients because PhilHealth, a government subsidized health plan would cover the benefit.
 
It took a lot of convincing from the medical team that mammograms are not a covered benefit.
 
Bringing mammogram free to indigent women and affordable to those who cannot afford it will demystify the whole notion of breast cancer as a death sentence because it is curable if women will look for it before it gets them.
 
The survival rate among the breast cancer population will remain low as predicted if the government does not act on cancer control initiatives.
 
Access to breast cancer screening and treatment is highly dependent on access to health care services that people can afford and trust.
 
Strategic solutions proposed is coordinated and organized approach leveraging on the multidisciplinary partnerships between the Philippine Foundation for Breast Cancer, Inc., the Philippine College of Surgeons (Northern Luzon Chapter), community officials, and the municipal health system particularly the barangay health workers who are the first life line of the community that enable health workers to effectively reach the grassroots.
 
Meanwhile, as MAMMOvans have evolved, these mobile programs have expanded their services to include other health screenings such as colorectal cancer screening through the use of fecal occult blood kits and chest x-rays.
 
Women who meet the age appropriate criteria for cervical screening are referred to participating providers for their tests, or in some cases a relevant provider who might be on board to perform this test.
 
Most of these programs are funded by philanthropic donors, charitable foundations and partnerships with governmental agencies and have been sustainable throughout their existence.
 
Their outcomes have been successful and sustainable. - Filipino Reporter
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