ating dibdibin
(“take your breast care to heart”)

The first community-based breast cancer screening program in the Philippines, Ating Dibdibin was launched under the auspices of the American Cancer Society and with a grant from Pfizer Foundation (USA) and Pfizer Foundation Philippines, Ating Dibdibin was first conducted in Marikina City, Metro Manila from June to December 2009. The program facilitated treatment of all women diagnosed with breast cancer during the screening period and aims to make the early detection program permanently included under the local government's health budget. Instructional videos on breast self examination were produced, in cooperation with C-Network, for Ating Dibdibin narrated by singer and actress Lea Salonga in English, and actress Dawn Zulueta in Tagalog. The video has a Cebuano version narrated by Raki Vega (produced in 2010).

As the first of its kind in the country, Ating Dibdibin is a very vital program since the Philippines has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Southeast Asia, and ranks 9th in the world in breast< cancer incidence.

Ating Dibdibin wants to tell women (and yes, some men also get breast cancer) that there is a cure to breast cancer especially if detected early. The program aims to save lives by replacing fear with correct information and access to financial help for diagnostics and treatment. The program is a call to save lives by catching cancer in its early stages when it is most curable. It goes beyond being a one-shot deal medical mission.

As a comprehensive program, it entails the cooperation of a locality, like a city or province, to agree to make the Ating Dibdibin program permanent.

ICanServe trains the locality’s medical team, as well as interested medical professionals in the private sector, on early breast cancer detection techniques. Intensive focus is given to the training of the barangay health workers who are the front liners to the community.

ICanServe also trains breast cancer survivors in the locality how to talk about early breast cancer detection through their own story of healing.

Then ICanServe, together with the local medical team, conducts free screening and forums for the communities.

ICanServe and the local government source and strengthen the network of referral and resources for the women with suspicious breast lumps so the gap between awareness and actual help is bridged.

ICanServe also aims for the partnering city to create a permanent breast cancer fund to help sustain the program. In its pilot city, Marikina, ICanServe Foundation was able to convince the city to institutionalize the Ating Dibdibin program and create the first trust fund for breast cancer in the country in 2009. The pilot study was done under the auspices of the American Cancer Society and Pfizer Foundation.

In Marikina, ICanServe Foundation was able to arrange for free mammography, free biopsy, free surgery, discounted ultrasound, and access to government funding agencies like PCSO and PAGCOR, all through the Philippine Cancer Society.

Results of a research agency show that because of the foundation’s intervention, the Ating Dibdibin program has changed women’s behavior toward cancer. They no longer fear breast cancer and now regularly do monthly breast self exam.

Ating Dibdibin aims to cover as many cities as possible. It also wishes for its partner locality to help duplicate the program in neighboring cities and provinces.