The province of Nueva Vizcaya held its first OKtober forum with breast cancer screening on November 6, 2023 at its capital city of Bayombong.
ICANSERVE Foundation partnered with Region 2 Trauma and Medical Center (R2TMC), formerly known as Veterans Regional Hospital, the Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Health Office (NV-PHO), the Municipal Health Offices of the province and the Bayombong Mayor’s Office to conduct the forum.
Over 150 participants learned from the talk on breast cancer myths and facts by ICANSERVE volunteer Dr. Roel Tolentino, a surgical oncologist practicing in St. Luke’s Medical Center and Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center. Most participants availed the free clinical breast examination. Held at R2TMC, 46 patients were found in need of further tests while one was recommended for excision biopsy. There was also an inspirational talk from breast cancer survivor Liwliwa Laureta.
Dr. Danilo Antonio Alejandro, chief of Medical Professional Staff at R2TMC, said he was grateful OKtober came to Bayombong, a first for them. “Prevention is better than cure. Early detection can let one live a more enjoyable and more productive life.”
ICANSERVE is working with the PHO to establish institutionalized breast cancer screening with the possible adoption of Ating Dibdibin, a breast cancer control program, in partnership with local government to address breast cancer among women at risk.
The initiative, in partnership with the ICanServe Foundation led by founding president Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, was spearheaded by Dr. Aurora Parong, professor at the Purisimo L. Tiam College, Inc., with the assistance of Bayombong Mayor Antonio Sergio Bagasao, the teams of Dr. Ray Suanding, chief of R2TMC, Dr. Anthony Cortez, chief of NV-PHO, together with ICANSERVE volunteers Elise Aguilar and Josefa Gale Ortiz.
Dr. Parong said, “If a movement for breast cancer awareness will emerge in Vizcaya, we can have earlier diagnosis and treatment of patients with breast cancer, have more survivors and increase survival rate. This event, hopefully, will result in a yearly Vizcaya-wide event for breast cancer awareness and screening. It can also lead to activities to empower community health workers and women themselves! This is a breakthrough in the province of Nueva Vizcaya. Later, hopefully we can spread the movement to other provinces in Region 2, as well as other parts of Northern Luzon.”