One in every eight women is poised to get cancer in her lifetime; but it only takes a minute of self examination to help save lives against this dreaded disease.
This is Avon Philippines’ message this October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as it launches its 2017 Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer (KGBC) initiative.
At the heart of this movement is the Pink Minute campaign, which encourages everyone to take a “Pink Minute” to do a breast self-examination (BSE), and make it a habit every month.
Faith Fernandez-Mondejar, Avon Philippines’ director for communication, “Breast cancer can hit anyone whether you’re male or female; young or old; active or not. To date, the closest thing to a cure is early detection. This October, we will launch a campaign that will remind everyone how a regular breast self-exam can save lives of women.
We invite everyone to think about it. We want to tell everyone that it just takes a minute to do it; it only takes a minute to “pink” about it. Pink Minute is a campaign that aims to make breast self exam a habit. We want every woman in the Philippines, if that would be possible for them, to make it a part of their daily routine. It should be natural a second nature to them like washing their hair or putting their fave Avon lipstick.”
How to do BSE, risk factors, how to reduce the risk of breast cancer
According to Dr. Karin Garcia, a family and palliative medicine doctor, professor at the University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Medicine, and a Philippine Cancer Society representative, the best time to do BSE is seven days after the first month of your period; or if you are already on your menopause, you can do it every first day of the month.
BSE can be done while lying down or at the front of the mirror before getting dressed. Feel your breasts by pressing your fingers firmly to feel any lumps. If there is any, seek a doctor immediately.
According to Dr. Garcia, 80 to 90 percent of the time, lumps are the telltale sign of breast cancer. However, other symptoms might include discoloration, skin peeling, dimpling, weight loss, easy fatigability, loss of appetite, and pain, among others.
“If there is pain, that’s quite advanced already,” shared Dr. Garin, who underscored not to delay consultations since breast cancer in stage three and down are treatable.
On the other hand, apart from the BSE, doctors also suggest a regular clinician’s examination and mammography especially for those who are at high risk. Some of the risk factors include obesity, bearing no child in a woman’s reproductive years, history of breast cancer in the family, excessive alcohol intake, early menstruation, and late menopause, among others.
While it mostly affects women, Dr. Garcia said that men should also be particularly concerned about this disease since they can affect them, too.
According to Avon Philippines’ data, men with ages between 60 to 70 are the ones who generally get diagnosed with breast cancer. Men, on the other hand, account for less than one percent of all the breast cancer patients in the country.
As cited by the company, exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer as it boosts the immune system. A 30-minute power walk a day is recommendable. Along with having regular exercise, breastfeeding for at least one year can lower the risk of this disease.
Since 2002, Avon Philippines has been doing information drive initiatives on breast cancer as well as other activities like fun runs through the KGBC campaign to empower women through awareness and knowledge of the disease especially since Philippines has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia.
According to the company’s data, approximately 14,000 new breast cancer cases are being diagnosed every year, out of which around 6, 000 deaths occur.
Breast cancer also remains to be a global concern. In a global survey conducted by Avon involving 19,000 women respondents, the company found out the following: just two out of five are confident they know the early signs of breast cancer; only one quarter think a lump is the only sign of breast cancer that can be identified with no medical equipment; more than half said that they avoid seeing a medical professional sometimes due to embarrassment, and sometimes out of fear of what they might find out;
many of them are unaware that the lifestyle could be increasing their breast cancer risk; six in ten don’t know that drinking alcohol is linked to the disease; and nearly two thirds of the respondents are unaware that exercise may help prevent breast cancer.
“It’s one of the causes truly close to our hearts because breast cancer continues to be the leading cancer killer of women. We, being a company for women, that hurts us as well because those are the people whom we are actually committed to serve and provide meaningful opportunities to. We don’t just stand for beauty; we stand for beauty with a purpose,” Fernandez-Mondejar said.
This year the company for women is taking the information drive online–harnessing the power especially of social media to reach more people as possible.
Joining them in this initiative are celebrity ambassadors including Marian Rivera, Angel Locsin, Kathryn Bernardo, Jennylyn Mercado, Daniel Matsunaga, Rocco Nacino, Ruffa Gutierrez, Bettina Carlos, Jodi Sta. Maria, and Iza Calzado.
These celebrities did different one-minute video challenges to show the public how easy BSE can be done; and sends the message that taking a few seconds of your time can save you from breast cancer. You can view these videos on Avon Philippines’ website, Facebook page, and on YouTube.
This initiative is done in partnership with the Philippine Cancer Society Inc. a long-time partner of Avon’s KGBC advocacy, which benefits the Avon-Philippine General Hospital Breast Cancer Care Center as the beneficiary.
How to help
Since KGBC’s launch 15 years ago, Avon Philippines was able to raise almost 24 million through product sales, donations, and other events.
This year, through the Pink Minute campaign, the company aims to raise funds and provide free consultation for women this whole month of October.
To help, you can purchase Avon’s Sweet Honesty Promise Eau de Toilette Spray and pedometer watch.
For more information on the campaign and to know more about breast
health, call the Pink Minute hotlines (+63) 917-155PINK (Globe) and (+63) 928-524PINK
(Smart); or visit www.avon.ph or the Facebook page of Avon Philippines.