Love Your Tatas 2016

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Question: Why would a person in her twenties be supporting a cause like breast cancer awareness?
Answer: Well, I don’t know if it’s obvious to you, but I have breasts.

Breast Cancer Facts:

Breast cancer affects as many as 99 in 100,000 women in the US alone, and numbers vary greatly. According to the Philippine Society of Medical Oncologists in a report from 2013, the breast cancer is so common that one of every 13 Filipino women are expected to develop it in her lifetime.

Breast cancer is also the most common cancer in the Philippines, with at least 16% of all the 50,000 cases of those diagnosed with cancer, according to a 2010 estimate. It is also the leading cause of cancer among women, and accounts for 28% of their total cases.

One in four women diagnosed with breast cancer die within the first five years, and 40% and above die within a decade.

Although it is highly treatable and have as high as 80% survival rates in developed countries like the US, Canada, Sweden, and Japan, these numbers decrease greatly depending on the income of the country. I live in a third world country, so survival rates here are pretty low.

People at Risk

The chances of getting breast cancer increases as age increases, so the older you get, the more likely it is for you to develop the disease.

However, there are also other factors other than age, for instance, family history. The risk is higher for women who have relatives who also had the disease, and if said relative is a close one, like a mother, sister, or daughter, then the risk doubles.

Some women develop benign breast conditions like atypical hyperplasia in their younger years, and unfortunately this also means that there is an increased risk for breast cancer.

Of course, lifestyle also plays a part: being overweight is also said to increase the risk of breast cancer, as does alcohol consumption, although exercise is said to seemingly lower the risk of the disease.

Photo Credit: Elyse-xo.tumblr.com

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

The American Cancer Society noted that in the early stages, breast cancer does not show symptoms, especially if the tumor is still small and easily treated, which is why it is necessary to follow recommended screening guidelines.

Once the tumor is large enough to be felt, it can be seen as a painless lump, but there are times that even before the original breast tumor is large enough to be felt as a lump, the cancer already spread to underarm lymph nodes, which can cause lumps or swellings as well.

Other signs include breast pain or heaviness; persistent changes to the breast such as swelling, thickening, or redness of the breast’s skin; and nipple abnormalities like spontaneous (possibly bloody) discharge, erosion, or retraction.

That’s scary, but what can we do?

Well, the breast cancer awareness campaign is a start.

If you’re a woman in her thirties or forties, you should start getting your annual screening and testing. Breast self examinations (BSEs) are a start, but there is a lot that you could miss — or there is a lot that you can overthink, so get a clinical breast exam as part of your regular checkups.

If you’re at a higher risk of getting breast cancer, think of getting an MRI and a mammogram every year.

Remember that breast cancer is not one, but several different kinds of diseases, so each treatment is individualized, and your case is likely different from that of someone you know.

Think Pink.

Love your tatas.

Save your boobs.

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Think Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

So I already did the facts for Breast Cancer last year. [Article here]

This year, let’s discuss the importance of the word awareness in connection with this campaign.

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Ayala Center Cebu Terraces

I very much appreciate Ayala Center’s effort to make people aware of the most common type of cancer for women. With about 99 out of 100,000 affected with breast cancer, it is a big deal.

This year, Ayala Center Cebu worked hand in hand with I Can Serve Foundation to raise awareness, and if all the pinks in the mall cannot make you look twice, then you must be oblivious. Which, considering that it’s for awareness, is a good thing.

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The Selfie Booth outside Giordano, Level 1, Paseo Ciudad

The Selfie Booth is all pink and really quite lovely to look at. Of course, such a nice display should have at least a gimmick to go with it, and I guess the name gives it away: Take a photo of yourself with the display, upload it on Instagram and tag it with #ThinkPinkAyala. I am not quite sure of the prizes but if, like me you don’t care about that, do it anyway for the fun of it.

I did. 🙂

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(There’s a person who got caught in the mirror so I had to cover it up with the hashtag.)

Anyhoo, I think the most important month-long display at the mall is the I Can Serve Foundation’s free clinic and consultation.

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The ICANSERVE free clinic outside The Face Shop, on Level 1, Paseo Solana

 

According to the foundation’s website, they promote early detection through “high impact information campaigns and community based screening programs.” They also help cancer survivors through healing.

The better thing about this, however, is that women over 30 should have themselves regularly checked by healthcare professionals. The American Cancer Society recommends that it should be done at least annually.

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The ICANSERVE Foundation also sells merchandise for the cancer patients and survivors.

Right outside the clinic is a small store that sells merch. They have pins even for the men who support the campaign. I think the brooms are really cute. But they also sell keyholders, scarves, caps, and masks.

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We think this is an example of the Pink Persons from last year’s gig that they’re currently using for decorations, but we can’t be sure. 🙂

Okay, so, we’re dealing with awareness, right? The Pink Month is all about positivism and optimism, but that’s for those who are still in the early stages. An article from SF Gate addressed the problems for those whose cancer have already metastasized: there’s really nothing that the movement can do for them.

Awareness is good, but more than that, more funding for research is needed, especially for the later stages. Hopefully more will come out of the Think Pink campaigns around the world.

For now, if all the pink can help remind people on the importance of getting mammograms, why not?

 

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Think Pink, everyone!

 


 

Photos are from my friend, Line of Hanging Rice and Gastronomic Adventures, You can also check out her personal blog, Violets Murmur.

 

 

Support The Pink Campaign By Purchasing “I Can Serve” Merch

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Since Bench is the only clothing store in the entire mall that had a Pink October sale, I was in a bad place. I decided to boycott the clothing store after that “The Naked Truth” fiasco after all. (I did not post or rant about it because I was too busy to write in the blog, and I would probably put in several thousand words worth of rantings.)

Fortunately, there is a booth that is part of Ayala Malls Think Pink campaign, which sells pink October merchandise. Proceeds will go to charity. In my book, that is a better use of my money than buy something from a known brand willing to degrade women for the sake of selling clothes.

The “I Can Serve” booth sells key chains, ID holders, pins, scarves, hats, bracelets, and even brooms. I did not see shirts, though. It is located right outside the free consultation clinic, outside The Face Shop, ground floor of Ayala Center Cebu.

Marking World Cancer Day (and a late appreciation post for the TFiOS trailer)

WCD postcard

February is usually called “The Love Month.” After all, the Hallmark holiday is working overtime to put out all the cheesy that hide in dark closets for most of the year. But Valentine’s is a ways away, and there is something more serious that we have to address today instead. Valentine’s can wait, lovelies, this one — it can, but why wait?

Let’s talk about the big “C” word.

Cancer.

Cancer.

CANCER.

Cancer is a big deal. It’s the sickness that takes away so many loved ones in the worst possible ways, because truly, isn’t it terrifying, waiting day in and day out, knowing that death will come to you in a matter of time?

Cancer can take away so much, in such a short amount of time. Nobody can say that having cancer won’t be that bad, because there are hundreds of types, and they’re not all curable.

We watched it on Love Story. Then again on A Walk to Remember. Then My Sister’s Keeper. And soon, in TFiOS.

Hazel Grace said in TFiOS, “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities,” and “There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get.”

Here’s the TFiOS Trailer:

If you read the book, you will know how heartbreaking it is, to have someone be taken from you in the form of cancer, but TFiOS, no matter how good of a book, is fiction, and there are so many more things about cancer that we all have to know.

So to mark World Cancer Day, here are some facts about cancer that we should all be aware of, as noted by the World Health Organization:

Fact 1:
There are more than 100 types of cancers; any part of the body can be affected.

Fact 2:
In 2008, 7.6 million people died of cancer – 13% of all deaths worldwide.

Fact 3:
About 70% of all cancer deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Fact 4:
Worldwide, the 5 most common types of cancer that kill men are (in order of frequency): lung, stomach, liver, colorectal and oesophagus.

Fact 5:
Worldwide, the 5 most common types of cancer that kill women are (in the order of frequency): breast, lung, stomach, colorectal and cervical. In many developing countries, cervical cancer is the most common cancer.

Fact 6:
Tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of cancer in the world causing 22% of cancer deaths.

Fact 7:
One fifth of all cancers worldwide are caused by a chronic infection, for example human papillomavirus (HPV) causes cervical cancer and hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes liver cancer.

Fact 8:
Cancers of major public health relevance such as breast, cervical and colorectal cancer can be cured if detected early and treated adequately.

Fact 9:
All patients in need of pain relief could be helped if current knowledge about pain control and palliative care were applied.

Fact 10:
More than 30% of cancer could be prevented, mainly by not using tobacco, having a healthy diet, being physically active and moderating the use of alcohol. In developing countries up to 20% of cancer deaths could be prevented by immunization against the infection of HBV and HPV.

These are the facts.

Unfortunately, people don’t remember much about facts, and dwell instead on myths. Myths that are in no way found to be true.

Here are the myths about cancer that World Cancer Day aims to eradicate:

Myth 1: We don’t need to talk about cancer.
Wrong. Cancer diagnosis is life-changing for most people, and talking about it can be important in the coping process. There are some societies that consider talking about cancer a taboo, but this negative perception can cause cancer patients to feel invisible and scared, thereby stifling information, which hinder awareness about prevention and the importance of early detection. Investing in prevention and early detection by accepting the existence of cancers and talking about it, is cheaper by a wide margin, so making it a non-taboo subject matter will give people courage to seek for quality care access earlier on.

Myth 2: There are no signs or symptoms of cancer.
Not true in all cases. Although not all cancers have known signs and symptoms, this is not true for breast, cervical, prostate, skin, oral, colorectal, and several other childhood cancers —- these can be detected early on. However, a lack of investment in cancer care, especially in the primary health care level, lead to late diagnosis and treatment.

Myth 3: There is nothing I [we] can do about cancer.
Not true in all types of cancers. The condition in which people live influence their health and quality of life. Although some types of cancers cannot be stopped, living health can significantly lower an individual’s risk for the disease. For instance, tobacco is linked to 71% of deaths from lung cancer, and accounts for at least 22% of all other cancer deaths.

Myth 4: I [We] don’t have the right to cancer care.
Not true, cancer care is much of a right as access to other healthcare services is. There is a large disparity in the outcome of cancer in the developed and developing countries. This is because there is lack of awareness, resources, and access to affordable and quality care that cancer patients in developing worlds suffer unnecessarily. Globally, more than a billion people cannot use the services they need mostly because they are not able to afford them. The UN Political Declaration acknowledges the additional burden in developing countries and now recognizes the importance of universal coverage in health systems through primary health care and social protection to provide services for all. Cancer care access is a matter of social justice, so take what is yours, you have the right to cancer care.

Learn more about cancer myths and the evidences against them from the World Cancer Day website.

Or Download the information sheets here:

WCD FactSheet 1
WCD FactSheet 2
WCD FactSheet 3
WCD FactSheet 4
WCD EvidenceSheet1
WCD EvidenceSheet2
WCD EvidenceSheet3
WCD EvidenceSheet4

Sign the declaration for cancer awareness here  to help bring the growing cancer crisis to the attention of government leaders and health policymakers in order to significantly reduce the global cancer burden by 2025.

Or post these on your social media profile to help raise awareness:

The WCD Logo in full color
The WCD Logo in black and white
The WCD General Postcard

Let us do our part in raising cancer awareness. Who knows how many lives can be saved by proper information dissemination alone. Let us give the chance for everyone to have larger infinities, because everyone deserves to have more number of days on their unbounded sets, to spend with people they love.

Pink Thinking

Ayala Center Cebu Celebrates Pink October

Ayala Center Cebu Celebrates Pink October

What color is the bra you are wearing?

A few years ago, women posting seemingly random colors puzzled the social networks. Later, it was found that it was a campaign for breast cancer awareness, and that those colors represent the color of the bra that the women are wearing.

It was certainly effective, but today, let us tackle the details.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women worldwide. Although numbers vary greatly, as many as 99 per 100,000 women suffer from this in the United States.

It is, however, treatable. It has an 80% survival rate in North America, Sweden, and Japan. For middle-income countries, the survival rate is around 60%, but it gets as low as 40% for low-income countries.

The low survival rates in low-income countries can be attributed to the lack of funding and resources to help early detection, which is where the awareness campaign kicks in.

Think Pink!

There are ways to detect breast cancer early on, but each woman is responsible for herself in these matters. Mammography screening is an effective method for detection and can reduce mortality by 20% to 30% in high-income countries. In case you don’t know what a mammography is, it is an x-ray examination of the breast, which may help detect the cancer in its early stages.

Breast self examination or BSE does not have evident screening effects, but it is an effective way to empower women by being responsible for their health, and is recommended for raising awareness for and among women.

Do not automatically panic when you feel a lump or mass in your breasts, though, because it is a normal hormonal response before you get your period. If it doesn’t go away, then it’s time to see your doctor just for caution.

Although rare, men can also be affected with breast cancer, which is why they too should be part of the awareness campaign.

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My male friends are not afraid to think pink this October.

Anyone can get breast cancer, it occurs more on older people than on younger ones. In the UK, about 81% of breast cancers occur in women over 50.

Angelina Jolie had a double mastectomy as a precaution because her mother died of breast cancer. Kudos to her for taking charge of her body, but breast cancer happens by chance and less than 10% of breast cancer parents inherited it through faulty genes. If you are worried about the family history and wondering whether or not you have greater chances of eventually having it, you should speak to your general practitioner.

Breast size has no significance in the game of chance for developing breast cancer because it is the type that does not discriminate. Whether you can barely fit into a Cup A or had a hard time squeezing into Double Ds, you may still be affected.

So be aware of the risks, and be responsible for your body.

Ayala Center Cebu has an “Adopt a Pink Person” Campaign. For PhP 200, you can get a pink person and write a message for someone about breast cancer awareness to support the cause. It may be someone you know who is suffering from it, or to nobody in particular with words of encouragement. Your pink person will be displayed in the garden in front of the Belo Clinic. (I will have to clear up exactly what the “pink person” is, though.)

This is Line, and the photos in this post are hers. Check out her blog at gastronomicadventures.wordpress.com

This is Line, and the photos in this post are hers. Check out her blog at gastronomicadventures.wordpress.com

As for the women there who are afraid to find out more about breast cancer, remember that prevention is better than cure! The earlier you can detect it, the bigger is the possibility that you will survive it.

Lots of love,
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