Women in the Philippines have a long tradition of serving as liberation fighters. They have displayed the resilience that is associated with this endeavor from the time of the colonial settlers all the way up until the present day. They fight for the right to free expression, the right to vote, and equal rights for all people.
However, so long as diseases such as cancer may hold their life as hostage and take control of them, they remain at the mercy of the sickness and are thus not really free. Breast and cervical cancers are, in point of fact, two of the most frequent and deadly forms of cancer that affect women. More than 10,000 Filipina women lost their battles with breast cancer and more than 4,000 lost their battles with cervical cancer in the year 2020 alone.
Because of this, Hope from Within (HFW), multi-stakeholder cancer advocacy, led by MSD in the Philippines, is organizing the “Kalayaan ng Kababaihan mula sa Kanser” Women’s Cancers Summit in June. The purpose of this summit is to draw attention to the plight of women who are afflicted with cancer, empower them, and amplify their voices as they fight the disease head-on. The Independence Day celebration will take place in
Ayn Bernos, a Tiktok content producer and one of the most powerful voices in the field of women’s empowerment on social media, is going to be hosting this event. Ayn had a lump removed from her breast through surgery after she experienced a scare regarding breast cancer the previous year. She would give a voice to the concerns, anxieties, and dreams of Filipina women who were seeking release from these ailments.
Understanding triple-negative breast cancer
Triple-negative breast cancer is one of the many types of breast cancer (TNBC). It is called aggressive cancer because it grows quickly, is more likely to have spread by the time it is found and is more likely to come back after treatment than other types of breast cancer. This cancer is more likely to happen to women under 40.
Dr. Josephine Tolentino, a medical oncologist, will talk about the signs and symptoms of TNBC, as well as ways to prevent it and diagnose it. Dr. Tolentino will also talk about the role of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) in giving patients a full range of treatment and care.
Depending on the type of cancer, the MDT can include a medical oncologist, a surgical oncologist, a radiation oncologist, a pathologist, a radiologist, a breast surgeon, a psychiatrist, and more. In multidisciplinary care, instead of relying on the medical advice of just one expert, a team of specialists will meet to talk about the best way to treat the patient based on their prognosis. Based on a study, patients with a well-organized MDT had a higher chance of living for 5 years.
Patients will also learn about the different ways breast cancer can be treated, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of these.
In addition to the medical expert, breast cancer survivors Dr. Gia Sison and Jaymee Joaquin will share their personal stories and give hope to cancer patients. Cancer advocate and celebrity Dianne Medina will talk about the journey of her mom, who died of breast cancer. The music of guest artists like Quest, an R&B singer, and composer, and the indie-pop duo Leanne and Naara will be a source of inspiration.
Committed to eliminating cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is one of the most easily treatable types of cancer, as long as it is found early and managed well. Almost all cases of cervical cancer (99%) are caused by infection with high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPV), which is a very common virus that is spread through sexual contact.
Even though most infections with HPV clear up on their own and don’t cause any symptoms, persistent infection can cause cervical cancer in women.
In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) came up with a global plan to speed up the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem. WHO wants 90 percent of girls to be fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by the time they are 15 years old, 70 percent of women to be screened using a high-performance test by the time they are 35, and then again by the time they are 45, and 90 percent of women with pre-cancer to be treated and invasive cancer to be managed.
Dr. Efren Domingo, Vice President of the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society, will talk about the importance of screening, vaccination, and treatment options for women with cervical cancer.
Providing healthcare access to Filipinas
Cancer patients, people who have survived cancer, and their families have always wanted everyone to have the same chance to get good cancer care. If the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) passes in 2019, the government can do more to fight cancer, help more people survive it, and make it easier for families and cancer patients. The goal of this important health law was, among other things, to give cancer patients better health care, make it easier for them to get new treatments, and protect their families from financial risk.
Dr. Clarito Cairo, who is the Program Manager for Cancer at the Department of Health (DOH), will talk about what’s new with DOH programs that help and support cancer patients. In this segment, Cairo will be joined by Dr. Cecilia Llave, who is a technical advisor for SUCCESS Jhpiego. She will talk about how her community helped her when she had cancer.
People with cancer and groups that help them keep pushing for the Philippines to make healthcare laws quickly and completely. HFW wants to give Filipino cancer patients new hope and help them fight harder by giving them up-to-date information on how to get through their cancer journey that is backed by medical professionals. On HFW’s website (https://hopefromwithin.org) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Hopefromwithinph), you can find information.
Caner can happen to anyone.
By signing the petition for the NICCA to be put into place as soon as possible, everyone can help people with cancer and those who have already had it. The NICCA gives people with cancer and people who have survived cancer the benefits they need for treatment and recovery, and it improves their quality of life.
Be sure your signature counts.
You can sign the petition by going to https://www.change.org/p/department-of-health-sign-the-petition-to-fully-implement-the-national-integrated-cancer-control-act-nicca-now.