The Department of Health (DOH) led the observance of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October 2021. The DOH emphasized the importance of regular self-breast examination and the critical role of screening in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer among women.

A breast self-examination (BSE) is a method to detect any noticeable changes in one’s breast. Early detection of any changes in the breast and seeking immediate consultation will increase one’s chances of successful treatment.

Citing the 2020 data from the Global Cancer Observatory (GCO), the DOH said that breast cancer leads the incidence among cancer sites and it is the third leading cause of cancer deaths among Filipinos. In response to this public health concern, the DOH established the Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF) pursuant to Rule V Section 20 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act to financially support the Cancer and Supportive-Palliative Medicines Access Program (CSPMAP) available in 26 access sites nationwide.

This year, despite the pandemic, more than 3,000 patients with breast cancer were given free cancer medicines under the Program.

“We urge women to do breast self-examination regularly and seek early consultation or teleconsultation with the primary care physicians for further assessment. Early detection of breast cancer is tantamount to better treatment outcomes for our patients.” said Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III.