How to survive, live with cancer

Early detection and timely access to correct treatment proved to be the key to cancer survival for most participants of the 4th Silver Linings, held on September 28, 2019 at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Organized by ICANSERVE Foundation, Inc. as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, the event gathered cancer survivors, their family members, supporters and medical care team to enlighten the public about issues surrounding cancer care and wellness in the Philippines.

In two sessions of Breast Cancer 101, early detection guidelines were provided as follows: at age 20, women should do monthly breast self-examination (BSE); at age 30, women should do monthly BSE and undergo a clinical breast examination (CBE) conducted by a trained health worker, nurse or doctor; at age 40, women should continue monthly BSE, annual CBE and get a baseline mammogram.

Data from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the United States showed that the relative five year survival rate (based on women in the U.S. diagnosed between 2008 and 2014) of those diagnosed at the earliest stage, or localized breast cancer, is 99%. This means that women who have that cancer are, on average, about 99% as likely as women who don’t have that cancer to live for at least five years after being diagnosed.

With such good prospects, women are encouraged to check themselves regularly and obtain the right care should they be diagnosed.

On the other hand, participants also learned first-hand from Stage 4 or metastatic cancer patients how to live with cancer, driven by hope, sheer will and immense gratitude for each day alive. When cancer spreads from its original site to another organ in the body.

“Stage 4 cancer is treatable and manageable, with access to quality care. Women with Stage 4 breast cancer are living longer and can live longer. Extending the life of a patient even by just one more day is a great gift to the family,” says ICANSERVE founding president and Advocacy head Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala.

ICANSERVE helps breast cancer patients connect with patient support groups located in various parts of the country as far north as Isabela and as far south as Tagum. ICanServe president Nikoy de Guzman, who survived breast cancer twice, attests to the special bond that connects survivors not just in the Philippines but to those abroad. She says, “Knowledge is gained in a nurturing atmosphere, even if you can only meet each other online. ICANSERVE is a resource, more like a home to ‘sisters’ in Vietnam, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, the U.S., New Zealand. Wherever there are Filipinas with cancer, they are never alone because they can reach our network of survivors and volunteers anytime.”

Lending support to the Foundation’s cause in favor of patients at risk of or living with cancer were a host of celebrities who themselves battled cancer, or had loved ones either win or lose the fight. All of the celebrity ambassadors of ICANSERVE agreed to raise awareness and spread hope by volunteering their voice to the cause, including: Iza Calzado, Agot Isidro, Cherie Gil, Bituin Escalante, Mikee Cojuangco, James Deakin, Daphne Osena Paez, Mitzi Borromeo, Christine Jacob-Sandejas, David Celdran, Gaby Roldan-Concepcion, Maritoni Fernandez, Lea Salonga, Chiqui Roa-Puno, Karmina Constantino, Maan Hontiveros, Patty Betita, Melissa De Leon, Drew Arellano, Iya Villena, Etta Rosales, Chuchu Madrigal, Bibeth Orteza, and Fr. Jerry Orbos.

Silver Linings was made possible by ICANSERVE’s partnership with Unilab Bio-ONCO, Inc., AC Health, LifeScience, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Del Monte, Pfizer Philippines Foundation, Roche, De Guzman Group, The Good Seed, Bayo, New World Diagnostics, Mylan, Parkway Cancer Center, and the Metro Group (Metro Channel, Metro.Style and Metro Society).

Visit the www.icanservefoundation.org or call +632 8636 5578 for information on how you could help as well.

View the Silver Linings Photo Gallery here.