My cousin who is based in Canada learned about her breast cancer 10 years ago. She was in remission for few years but unfortunately the harmful cells went beyond the affected areas, spreading to another major part of her body. But she’s amazing, she gets up each day and brave enough to fight and overcome the agony, hoping and praying for God’s miracle that her cancer cells will be eliminated. As I’m writing this blog, I can’t help but imagine the physical and emotional pain she’s currently going through. I am powerless but I can only offer my best wishes and prayers for her and for the other people throughout the globe who are afflicted with and suffering the adverse impact of this disease.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) labeled breast cancer as the second most common cancer in the United States. Based on accounts, breast cancer is the leading killer of women ages 35 to 54 worldwide. The global incidence of breast cancer has substantially increased for the past 30 years, particularly in Southeast Asia, where the Philippines accounted for the highest incidence rate of breast cancer.
To heighten its operations and achieve its goals, ACS has collaborated with other non profit organizations and private companies/individuals to fight breast cancer via massive awareness campaign primarily on the relevance of early stage cancer detection, encouraging women to initiate the first steps, i.e., undergo early examinations and tests especially if and when they find something wrong in their body and should they have it, for them to understand the treatment options and on how they can positively deal with the side effects of the drug and the disease. The ACS and its partners likewise fund research-related activities to explore best alternative options to prevent, detect, treat the disease, improve the quality of life of breast cancer patients and most of all to eradicate the said illness.
In view of the significance of this worthy cause, the month of October was chosen as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many groups came up with innovative ways to celebrate this event. That’s the reason why we see some pink-themed products being sold in the market, there are people wearing pink ribbons for this cause and some adverts about breast cancer activities are being displayed on billboards and social media. Practically, the world aggressively advocates breast cancer awareness during the month of October, in which thousands of brands, companies, and concerned individuals gather to sound the alarm, so to speak, and reinforce the global support for the cause. As you maybe aware, the pink color ribbon is said to have been founded in 1993 and was first distributed by the Estee Lauder Companies in major shopping malls in New York City in support for breast cancer awareness.
Even the fashion industry have sprung up to show support and advocate for individuals who have breast cancer. Fashion geniuses such as Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs have launched their individual campaigns in the past to help in this cause using their brand names.
In the Philippines, a non profit foundation called “ICanServe Foundation, Inc.” (which I may call “Ican” for short) was founded in 1999 by four breast cancer survivors led by Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Crisann Celdran, Becky Fuentes and Bet Lazatin. These women who became friends “saw the need to provide a circle of support for women who were newly diagnosed, women on cancer treatments and women in remission navigating through their new normal life.”
As shown in its website, the foundation is likewise advocating “early breast cancer detection through high impact information campaigns and community-based screening programs”. It also “empowers women with breast cancer and provides women with cancer-related information so they can have a voice in their own health care. While it is not a support group, it offers instead “hope so women will not feel alone in their journey. Volunteers are cancer survivors willing to share their light with other patients and survivors so that their path is better lit, and the journey, lighter.”
IcanServe Foundation have launched breast cancer awareness activities this month and there are more in the pipeline. One of its recent successful activities which caught my attention based on social media posts was when they took women who have had breast cancer diagnosis to wear outfits created by local designers to the catwalk.
The said “Ican” fashion event held early this month at Raffles Hotel, Makati, was in collaboration with Marie France for this cause and to likewise introduce the holiday collections of the Philippines’ famous designers, namely: Lulu Tan Gan, Disini, Kristel Yulo, Eric de los Santos, Rajo Laurel, and Rhett Eala (thanks to # FashionCanServe for the photos).
It could have been more a breathtaking catwalk show should I have seen it myself rather than just the photos taken during the show, admiring the courageous survivors in their colorful outfits and stunning accessories created by the pool of fashion talents. This is one of the worthy and commendable causes undertaken by the founders and its benefactors who have joined together to raise funds for a great cause. Oh, what a beautiful time of year to celebrate this event, giving some of these afflicted women a kind of hope, camaraderie and moral support they’re longing for.
On a side note, IcanServe Foundation shall hold another event on October 21st, but this time it’s a culinary show, giving ticket holders a sample taste of delectable dishes of 25 of the best chefs in the country. The event is dubbed as Lifestyle’s the World in Small Plates’ at The Tent at Enderun, for the benefit of ICanServe Foundation. I wish I could be there to show my humble support. If you’re available on said date, please feel free to visit IcanServe booth at Rockwell Power Plant on October 17 and 18 for more tickets (Thank you IcanServe and Ms. B. Osmena fb page for the info.)
Finally, let’s all bear in mind that finding breast cancer early provides the best chance of surviving the disease.
Here are some useful tips found on the web on how to check on whether there have been changes on your breasts (web source):
-a new lump or lumpiness, especially if it’s only in one breast
-a change in the size or shape of your breast
-a change to the nipple, such as crusting, ulcer, redness or inversion
-a nipple discharge that occurs without squeezing
-a change in the skin of your breast such as redness or dimpling
-an unusual pain that doesn’t go away.
Thank you for visiting and I hope this blog was of help.