OMMC Strategies Against Breast Cancer

OMMC Strategies Against Breast Cancer

Reynaldo O. Joson, MD
Chairman, Department of Surgery
Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center

September 28, 2002

It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October once again.

The Department of Surgery of Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center (OMMC) supports and subscribes to the objectives of designating October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a sign of support and as its contribution to the national health objectives, in 2001, the Department formulated a program dubbed as Operasyon Kanser sa Suso which consisted of 4 strategies that would try to reduce the breast cancer health problem in the community, particularly, Manila.

Prior to coming out with the strategies, the Department made a situational analysis of the breast cancer health problem in the community. The background data consisted of the following:

1. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the Philippines and in Manila.
2. Every Filipino woman is at risk of developing breast cancer. The risk starts at age 30 and continues throughout the lifespan of the woman.
3. One out of 28 Filipino women who live up to age 64 will develop breast cancer. One out of 19 Filipino women who live up to age 74 will develop breast cancer.
4. The specific cause of breast cancer up to this time is not known. Thus, there is no effective way of prevention.
5. Majority of Filipino patients with breast cancer still present to the breast specialists for diagnosis and treatment at a late stage even after years of breast awareness programs and despite rampant practices of mammography and ultrasound studies. Proportion of patients at time of treatment: Stage I – 5%; Stage II – 40%; Stage III – 50%; and Stage IV – 5%.
6. The late stage of diagnosis and treatment has led to poor quality of life and premature death of patients with breast cancer.

7. Reasons for late-stage initial consult with breast specialists:

7.1 Late self-detection of breast lump which turns out to be cancer

a. Not practicing regular breast self examination

b. Not aware of breast cancer as a disease entity

7.2 Late initial consult with a physician

a. Disregarding a painless breast lump

b. Fear of being diagnosed to have breast cancer

c. Fear of treatment – mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy

d. Financial reasons – high cost of treatment

e. Long waiting time in government hospitals

8. The most realistic way to cope with breast cancer health problem at present is to promote early detection and then to consult breast specialists for early diagnosis and early treatment!

After the situational analysis, the Department decided on the following goal and target (indicators):

Goal: Reduce the percentage of late stage on consult and increase the percentage of early stage on consult.

The 4 strategies that the Department formulated consisted of the following:

Strategy 1:To promote awareness among the citizenry on the magnitude and extent of breast cancer health problem in the community.

Strategy 2:To promote early detection, diagnosis and treatment by allaying undue fear of cancer.

Strategy 3:To promote early detection, diagnosis and treatment by enticing early consult and treatment.

Strategy 3A: To convince the Filipino women that quality of life possible with breast cancer! Premature death can be prevented with early diagnosis and treatment!

Strategy 3B: To make screening acceptable, easy, convenient, and affordable, yet effective relying more on breast self-examination and breast specialist examination.

Strategy 3C: To make diagnosis of breast masses acceptable, easy and affordable, yet effective relying more on needle evaluation and biopsy as the initial procedure.

Strategy 3D: To make treatment acceptable yet effective!

NO need for total mastectomy, NO need for chemotherapy, NO need for radiotherapy for early staged breast cancers! For those needing a breast cancer operation, an average of 2 visits only (not 6 as in other government hospitals) prior to schedule of operations and operations done within 2 weeks (not 3 months as in other government hospitals).

Strategy 4:To promote early detection in institutions and organizations where there is a large female population at risk for breast cancer by formulating a structured breast cancer screening program.

Starting October 1, 2002, the Department of Surgery of Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center will hold again a series of activities that will aim to strengthen its strategies against breast cancer:

1. FREE breast consultation at the OMMC Outpatient Clinic from Monday to Friday, 8-10 am.
2. FREE breast consultation at the BREAST CLINIC of the Department of Surgery every Friday, 1-4 pm.
3. FREE breast operations for the whole month of October for indigent Manilans with breast cancer every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on a first come first serve basis and while supplies last.
4. Series of symposia and public health education on "OMMC Department of Surgery’s Strategies against Breast Cancer".

For more information, pls. call 524-60-61 and look for Dr. Vivian Enriquez or Dr. Ana Agoo-Llado.
[ First posted on 10/15/2002 by Manuel Viloria ]



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