Current Situation in the Philippines with Regards to Breast Wellness
With breast cancer being very common in the Philippines and with so many Filipino females being aware of breast cancer as a killer disease and having many relatives and friends afflicted and dying from it, there exists a pendulum that swings from fear to phobia among the adult Filipino females. Currently, the pendulum has been swinging more often to the phobia side with a lot of adult Filipino females experiencing symptoms of anxiety over breast cancer. At times, the phobia extends to paranoia, with uncontrollable and irrational fear and anxiety over breast cancer. Unwillingness to regularly palpate their own breasts because of fear of discovering a breast mass or cancer is a common expression of anxiety. Experiencing breast pain immediately triggers fear and anxiety thinking that they may have breast cancer already. Those with breast cancer think that their cancer is a death sentence.
In the Philippines, a lot of the female population who are aware of the magnitude of the breast cancer problem, who have family history of breast cancers, and who have been subjected to routine screening with mammography and ultrasound suffer from imaginary breast health problem. Imaginary breast health problems are usually seen in people who think they have but in reality they don’t have real breast disorders.
Here are some examples of commonly expressed concerns of Filipino women:
1. “My breast is painful. I may have breast cancer.”
2. “I have a family history of breast cancer. I may have breast cancer.”
3. “I may have breast cancers because there are findings (cysts, nodules, complex cysts, calcifications) on my mammography and ultrasound.”
In the Philippines, there are a lot of so-called breast clinics / centers. Most if not all of them just focus on diagnostic tests particularly mammography and ultrasound. Most of them end up sowing more fear and anxiety on breast cancer rather than promoting breast wellness among women.
Thus, there is currently a problem in breast wellness among the adult Filipino females that need to be fixed. The question is how.
Part of development of:
Promoting Breast Wellness Among Filipino Females
Reynaldo O. Joson, MD, MHA, MHPEd, MSc Surg
May 18, 2012