When I was in elementary, I remember my science teacher talking to us girls about types of bukol. She said that when you notice anything odd and lumpy about your body, seek for medical help immediately. As deformities such as weird swelling & lumps may possibly be deadly and/or infectious. She also said that we should be always cautious, because we never know. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Above all the diseases we talked about that day, she talked about breast cancer the most. She told us how she has been careful about her body ever since a relative of hers was diagnosed with breast cancer.
I came home that day fully loaded with knowledge. She gave us tips and tricks on how to lessen the risks, but I knew it wasn’t enough. There was more to know and learn.
Last month, I was invited to attend the Breast Day Ever – a one day event that aims to raise awareness on the importance of early detection to fight breast cancer. Remembering my experience back in elementary, I never had second thoughts about accepting the invite. I immediately confirmed my attendance and the rest was history.
On the event itself, (June 24, 2015) each attendee was given note taking essentials (sponsored by Fatima Medical School) and ticket stubs for us to use during the whole day event. The talks were divided into four breakout sessions and each group was given a selfie stick sponsored by the Happy_PodPh.
Our first activity involved a bit of role playing where a patient came to our ‘little clinic’ and asked us for help about breast cancer. As doctors we had to tell the patient what she has to do & what she has to expect.
Each and every one in my team had her own say on what to do with the given case. This task honestly took a long time for us because different ages and professions meant different experiences. So many ideas being poured in and we had so little time gathering everything up.
To help us understand more about the cases that were given to us, Dr Fernando Roque gave us a few notes on breast cancer through a very informative presentation.
Some symptoms of breast cancer include:
- Change in appearance of the skin on the breast / nipple.
- Change in size and shape of the breast / nipple.
- Redness of the skin on the breast.
- Fluid discharge from the nipples.
- Lumps that may appear around the breast.
The second session started with a bit of sharing. Here’s ‘Nay Nene Sharing her experience as a breast cancer survivor. She talked about different procedures and medications that she took back then. “It’s really expensive to get sick, so please take care of yourselves” ‘Nay Nene advised.
This breakout session focused entirely on self-examination of the breast. Miss Lourdes Cortez of the Philippine Foundation for Breast Care Inc. told us that we should have bigger mirrors at home as it will play a huge role on lessening the risk of breast cancer. She made me realize that I’m one of the guilty few who only check their own hair and face on the mirror. As health advocates, we should check the rest of the body too! (as keen as how we check our hair and face.)
Self Examination can start from the middle of the breast moving away in a circular motion to the outer edge of the breast or vice versa. It is also important to know the amount of pressure you put into an area when examining a specific part: Use light pressure on the skin and tissue just beneath the breasts, use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts then use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back portion.
Self examination can be done while lying down, sitting or standing up. Some women prefer doing self examination after taking a bath. Find what’s suitable for you and what you’re more comfy with.
After two breakout sessions, Lunch was served! I was able to get this Bibimbap from FitFuelMNL.
We also got to score a lot of gift certificates from Styles Studio Salon & Spa for solving puzzles and brain teasers during the break. Girls who have started to menstruate is already at risk of breast cancer and it will get higher as the girl ages. Studies show that girls who have started menstruating before the age of 11 has a higher risk of getting breast cancer.
After lunch and some interactive games, we were asked to write on post-its on what we know / what we want to ask about breast cancer. In this breakout session, It was explained that past history, obesity, smoking & alcohol are just some of the causes of breast cancer. We were reminded that “Lahat ng sobra ay masama” (Too much of anything is bad). Some tips to lessen the risk of getting breast cancer were discussed in the last breakout session. We talked about the importance of early detection, the benefits of exercise, the side effects of vices and the recommendable Filipino Plate (which consists of rice, fish, meat, fruits and veggies).
The Breast Day Ever gave me the opportunity to meet other women of different ages (and guys too actually!) students, mommies, lolas, cancer survivors, cancer fighters, health advocates and etc were there with me during that fun filled afternoon. By the end of the sessions, we decided to do a selfie using Happy_Pods ‘s arm extender.
Actually, we took a lot of selfies or groufies, whichever term you prefer haha. Thank you Happy_PodPH!
For snacks, I was able to get Tapsi Ni Vivian ‘s famous Tapsilog (which I ended up eating immediately as soon as it was given to me. Hence, no photo =)) ) and this delicious Red Velvet Cupcake from Celina’s Cupcakes.
Tapa and Red Velvet cupcakes just happen to be TWO OF MY MOST FAVORITE YUMYUMS IN THE WORLD. HARERUYA!
After the quick break, questions presented by the attendees (post-its) were discussed and answered by Dr. Roque. “Does wearing an underwire bra increase the risk of getting breast cancer?”, ” Do small-chested women have less chance of getting breast cancer?” and “are all lumps on the breast cancerous?” are just some of the questions that were asked.
It was nice to know that by the end of his discussion, the questions on the misconceptions were busted and cleared.
Receiving a loot full of cool stuff from Pantene, Human Nature, Insular Life & Carisse during the event was one thing, but going to bring home newly acquired knowledge, memories and this Breast Cancer 101 sheet was another! I love infographics to begin with and I find this one is really cute! <3
Here are some points that were in the Infographic, I also included some notes that I took from the event.
- 80 % of breast lumps in women are cysts, non-cancerous, or caused by hormones.
- 90 % of breast cancers are caused by environment and lifestyle.
- The risk of breast cancer is the same for women who wear bras and those who don’t.
- There’s no connection between the size of your breasts and your risk of getting breast cancer. Every one is still at risk.
- Men also are at risk of breast cancer, but it’s a very rare case.
- Breast Cancer lumps can be painless or painful, moving or stagnant & modifiable and non-modifiable.
- Always observe your breasts’ change in texture and color. Check also for lumps and dimples.
- There are three ways of doing self examination: Standing up, Sitting or lying down.
- If under 40, do Breast Ultrasounds. If above 40, do Mammograms.
- Breast cancer ranks second as a cause of death in women.
- The majority of breast cancer cases are “sporadic,” meaning there is no direct family history of the disease.
With the event nearly coming to a close, the groups were given 4 pink shirts to write their pledges on. What will you do next? What can you promise yourself from now on?
For me, I wrote ” From now on, I will protect myself and my family & friends”. Protect in what way? Sharing everything I’ve learned from The Breast Day Ever. I guess you can say that this blog post is a start for me.
I didn’t have photos of what the shirt looked like because I represented my group in front during the sharing. Why not check the other blogs out about the The Breast Day Ever? You might just see me there! ;) (wink)
They raffled out some prizes from the event’s major sponsors before they officially closed the event. To my surprise, my group won #TheBreastSelfieEver! Each of us in the photo were given Nail It! Salon Gift Certificates! Yay. Thank you Nail it and Happy_Pod for making this possible!
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much to these three organizational communication girls of DLSU (Amanda Arambulo , Patricia Velaso & Dei Cimatu ) for organizing an event like this! It’s an honor to meet people from the health advocacy especially the PH’s most brave warriors and survivors.
Before I bid goodbye, I just want to say thanks to KikayNeedsOverload for my low back floral top! <3 If you want to check out more from their updated collection, please do visit them on Instagram: @KikayNeedsOverload or on Facebook: Fb.com/KikayNeedsOverload
Help us raise the awareness, yes? Share what you’ve learned from this post to your girl friends! Together, let’s fight against breast cancer!