Contributed to the Filipino Reporter
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the Philippines.
The country has also one of the highest incidence and mortality rates and one of lowest survival rate in Asia.
The MAMMOvan — the first of its kind in the Philippines and Southeast Asia — is a mammography unit on wheels offering free screening mammography services to indigent women in Northern Luzon.
Those who can afford pay a modest cost equivalent to 50% of the fee charged at hospitals or radiology centers.
Cost and access are the two main barriers for a very low mammography adoption in the Philippines.
I consider myself the poster child of early detection.
I believe that early detection equals prevention.
Diagnosed at age 52 with early stage disease and a survivor for 15 years, I want to apply my experiences as a patient and an oncology nurse to help other women destigmatize breast cancer.
The MAMMOvan completes the Early Detection and Screening platform of the Breast Cancer Imperative, Inc (BRCAI).
Other components of the program include advocacy outreach to communities teaching them about breast health and breast cancer, risk assessment and lifestyle interventions.
An important component of the educational outreach is teaching women how to do Breast Self exams (SBE) so they can use this tool in their everyday life.
SBE creates awareness and empowers women to care for themselves.
We engage barangay health workers in our outreach activities because they play a pivotal role in the health structure of the community. For our services to have impact, community engagement is essential.
Since its inception in May 2014, we have trained over thousands of community health providers and lay people.
Our mammography numbers are increasing and we hope to reach our first thousand by 2017.
The money that we raise will afford us to mobilize our team more frequently thus expanding our patient base and giving more women access to free or low cost screening services.
It is my hope that mothers, daughters, sisters and friends will live to watch their children grow up like I did, through these early imperatives.
Donations may also be made by check (instead of through gofundme) payable to TLC Fund and mailed to BRCAI, Apt.14B,433 East 56th Street, New York, NY 10022.
TLC Fund is a 501(C)3 organization and all donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.