Press Release
February 1, 2010


"It is one of the worst diseases one can endure, and among the worst ways to leave the world," warned Sen. Loren B. Legarda in a recent meeting with experts and lobbyists pushing for stronger legislative framework on breast cancer prevention and treatment. Legarda has urged Congress to pass the Breast Cancer Detection Act into law and enable millions of Filipinos, especially the women, to pre-empt any infection to the disease.

"This bill mandates local government units (LGUs) to conduct a quarterly breast cancer detection program, including mammogram breast cancer screening programs, surgery, radiotherapy and chemotheraphy through their respective health officers, for the early prevention and cure of the disease among Filipino women all over the country," noted Legarda in her meeting with concerned advocates for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer in the country. Citing a recent research, Legarda said that at least one in every 1,800 Filipinos develop cancer annually.

"For every two new cases of cancer diagnoses every year, one will pass away within the year. The Philippines has Asia's highest number of reported breast cancer incidence with an age standardized incidence rate (ASR) of 47.7 per 100,000 Filipino women," stressed Legarda. "Cancer is the third leading cause of mortality and morbidity in the country. This number is higher than the numbers of some European countries like Spain and Italy," she added.

Early detection increases the cure and recovery rates. Breast self-examination (BSE) and mammography are some of the procedures that an individual can undergo. But only 54% of Filipino women perform BSE and out of this number, only 27% continue to do it regularly. Mammography is not readily available and too expensive for most Filipino women, especially the ones residing in rural areas.

Legarda explained that "economic factors and fear are two main reasons why Filipino women with cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage. Clearly, there is a need to raise awareness and provide more assistance in preventing, diagnosing and treating breast cancer among Filipino women."

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