Press Release
September 12, 2010

Every Region Should Have Breast Care Centers - Legarda

Senator Loren Legarda proposed the establishment of breast care centers in every region nationwide to ensure that all Filipino women will have access to this specialized health service in order to increase breast cancer prevention and awareness.

"The centers, under the supervision of the Secretary of Department of Health will specialize in breast protection, breast surveillance, breast imaging and breast diagnostic and surgery.'

Legarda's Senate Bill 1393 also mandates the coordination of regional and local education officials to guarantee that female high school students of both private and public schools are well informed about the disease to increase the rates of awareness, prevention and early detection.

Senator Legarda's own mother, Bessie Bautista Legarda had succumbed to breast cancer. Since then, the Bessie B. Legarda Memorial Foundation Inc. has been helping hundreds of breast cancer patients all over the country.

"The Philippines has the highest breast cancer rate in Asia. 50 per 100,000 Filipinas are diagnosed with breast cancer."

Legarda said most Filipino women diagnosed with breast cancer are between the ages of 35 and 50 years old.

"Breast self-examination (BSE) is the most cost effective strategy in detecting cancer. Unfortunately, only 54 percent of Filipino women conduct BSE and only 27 percent of that number continues to practice it at an average of 9.2 times a year. "

"The economic factor is one of the primary reasons for the late diagnosis of breast cancer among Filipino women. Other factors are non-awareness and fear."

Legarda cited a recent Department of Health and World Health Organization study which reported that there was a 79.1 percent non-compliance rate among women found with breast masses residing in Metro Manila in terms of consulting hospitals and clinic for re-evaluation and possible treatment.

"In cooperation with the local government units and other government agencies in their respective areas, an extensive information campaign should be sustained to raise the breast cancer awareness of the Filipino women in all regions of the country, " Legarda concluded.

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