A prestigious foundation empowered breast cancer patients and survivors with the recent launch of the breast cancer manual entitled ‘You Can Do This’ which is a comprehensive resource designed to support patients, survivors and their caregivers on their journey to wellness.
Available as free downloadable in English and Filipino in the website of ICanServe Foundation, the breast cancer manual was recently launched in the city to empower women to be aware of the initial symptoms of breast cancer for them to be able to immediately available of t6he available health care services such as modern and targeted treatment for them to recover from the said illness.
“I believe that a breast cancer manual should be a must have for any woman seeking accurate and accessible information about managing breast cancer today. Nobody wants to talk about it, but everyone needs to be informed. This manual will be a very helpful guide. This manual is similar to the guidebook that got me through my cancer journey eighteen years ago,” Marivic Bugasto, president of Minda’s Buddies and an ICanServe partner.
“Having access to the right information when facing cancer is like a compass in a storm. It guides us towards informatized decisions, empowers us with knowledge, and ignites a spark of hope in our hearts,” shared Abby de Leon, ICanServe volunteer, professional image consultant, who graced the cover of the manual.
Earlier, The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that some 27,163 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the country in 2020, making it the most common cancer in t6he archipelago.
Further, 70 percent of women are diagnosed with advanced stages, underscoring the need for early detection.
The manual offers practical knowledge and advise and shares heartfelt stories from breast cancer survivors to help patients, survivors and caregivers access essential information through their cancer journey.
City Health Services officer-in-charge Dr. Celiaflor Brillantes said that there are many reasons why the manual is important as the internet is over filled with information these days, however, the information there may not fit the specific needs of Filipinas, thus, a breast cancer manual specific to the Philippine setting will offer re-assuring and realistic information for women diagnosed with breast cancer in the country.
She expressed hope that the manual will provide more well-rounded information adapting to the unique Filipino culture.
“As a long time survivor, many newly diagnosed women or their loved ones come to me for advise. While I try my best, my answers tend to be insufficient, vague, or scattered. With this manual, I am able to give sound advise even for questions they haven’t asked in a more organized manner,” ICanServe president Nikoy de Guzman.
“I hope this manual sends the message that cancer is not a death sentence. Many things can be done to ease the burden of cancer diagnosis. No one is alone in her fight,” she added.
The manual combines information gleaned from studies and established sources such as the American Cancer Society, as well as personal anecdotes to serve as a source of information and encouragement for breast cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers. It covers a wide range of topics from the medical, understanding treatment options, managing side effects, to the personal, how to tell their families and friends to the practical financing of cancer treatment.
“Written by breast cancer survivors and with inputs from experts in various fields, from psychiatry to palliative care, the updated manual is written in layman’s terms to help patients as well as their families and support groups at different stages on the journey to wellness. It’s a solid, valuable reminder that no breast cancer survivor is ever completely alone in this experience,” Alya Honasan, ICanServe volunteer, journalist, artist, book author, yoga instructor, and the manual’s editor, shared.
Crisann Celdran, co-founder and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ICanServe foundation, emphasized that the manual is a love letter from survivors to other survivors and their caregiver and families and one she wishes she had access to back them.
Dr. Corazon Ngilangil of the National Integrated Cancer Control Council and Philippine Cancer Society expressed support to the production of the manual, saying that the said manual empowers women to take charge of their well-being through self-education, self-assessment, and self-reliance; equipping them with insights on getting the right treatment at the right time.
What sets apart the ICanServe patient manual ‘You Can Do This’ is that it is Philippine and patient-centered. To date, there are gaps in information for the rich, the middle class and the poor. Patients often feel side effects or symptoms that are unacknowledged and unaddressed.
“We want patients, carers, caregivers and health providers to form a circle of support for patients and to fully share in the journey beginning with accurate information and acknowledging nuance experience of breast cancer patients. This circle of support equals hope, the one thing you should never take away from a patient,” Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, founding president of ICanServe foundation and vice president for internal affairs, Cancer Collation Philippines.
ICanServe foundation was founded in 1999 to provide information and a circle of support for women diagnosed with breast cancer. From a support group working to empower women with accurate information on breast cancer, the foundation has evolved and expanded its advocacy to promote breast cancer control programs on the national and local levels. As a founding member of Cancer Coalition Philippines, ICanServe was instrumental in the passage of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act in 2019, the first legislation of its kind in Southeast Asia. The foundation continues to advocate for the full implementation of the law to ensure that no cancer patients get left behind.