(“take your breast care to heart”)
Ating Dibdibin or “Take Your Breast Care To Heart”, is a comprehensive community-based breast cancer screening program. The program teaches early breast cancer detection techniques so breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage.
Most breast cancers in the Philippines are discovered in the late stages. Most women postpone going to the doctor despite knowing they have suspicious breast lumps.
Ating Dibdibin, a first of its kind in the country, is the ICanServe Foundation’s response to the fact that the Philippines has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Southeast Asia. It also ranks 9th in the world in breast cancer incidence.
The program aims to save lives by teaching early breast cancer detection techniques through free forums and screening sessions conducted by a medical team and cancer survivors.
Should anyone be diagnosed with a suspicious lump during the screening, the Ating Dibdibin program provides access to financial help for diagnostics and treatment.
The program is made possible by a partnership between the ICanServe Foundation and a locality like a city or province that will agree to make the program permanent.
ICanServe trains the locality’s medical team, including those interested medical professionals in the private sector on early breast cancer detection techniques. Intensive focus is on training of the barangay health workers, or the community health workers, the front-liners to the community.
ICanServe also taps and trains breast cancer survivors in the locality so they can share their journey of healing and encourage other women to take charge of their health.
In 2008, the first partnership was forged with Marikina City. The city institutionalized Ating Dibdibin and created the first breast cancer trust fund in the country. Together with ICanServe, the program includes free mammography, free biopsy, free surgery, discounted ultrasound and access to government funding agencies and the Philippine Cancer Society.
In 2010, Panabo City in Davao province was the second to embrace the program as permanent. In 2012, Taguig City embraced Ating Dibdibin and in 2014, Muntinlupa City became the fourth ICANSERVE partner city in implementing this early detection program.
Results of a research in Marikina City show that because of the foundation’s intervention, the program Ating Dibdibin has changed women’s behavior toward cancer. Those who attended the forums and screening sessions no longer fear breast cancer and regularly conduct monthly breast self exam.
Ating Dibdibin aims to cover as many cities as possible and is open for partnership. It also wishes for its partners to duplicate the program in the partners’ chosen cities and provinces.