MY LATE pops Willy was diagnosed with oral cancer on December 2005. We will commemorate his 8th death anniversary soon, July 11, to be exact.

News reached me that someone close to the family will soon go under the knife once more after her doctors found something unusual in her last ultrasound. But only 2 years ago, she had a partial mastectomy and completed the prescribed radiation and chemotherapy sessions. She was placed under remission last year and so it breaks my heart to hear such news.

Cancer affects everyone. Rich, poor, old, young, male or female. Perhaps each of us has had a relative or a friend we have already lost to cancer.

Since my father’s death, I have been following forums and news items which discuss breakthroughs in cancer research. There is a community out there of cancer survivors and families of cancer victims and I feel a certain affinity to them.

According to a new research conducted in Norway, inviting women to mammography screening reduced the risk of death from breast cancer by as much as 28%.

In this study, the mammography screening program was rolled out across the country where government, in cooperation with health facilities and professionals, non-government organizations and the private sector actively invited high-risk women to take a breast cancer screening.

Sally Greenbrook, policy officer of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, the organization which spearheaded the program said, “This study is encouraging and builds upon a previous independent review in 2012. It demonstrates that invitations to breast screening may reduce deaths….”

She added, “Breakthrough Breast Cancer believes that screening saves lives but we understand that this is a confusing area and it is essential that women have access to balanced information about the risks and benefits of screening.”

I believe the first step of inviting women for breast screening, indeed, could make a dent on breast cancer mortality. A lot of women out there are probably wanting to go for screening but are unsure on how to go about it.

It is with this thinking that BBC launched its website to give you the facts and also procedures when undergoing a breast screening.

According to the site, early screening will save 3 to 4 women from breast cancer. Ninety-six out of every 100 women going for a mammogram will get a letter saying they did not show any signs of breast cancer. The four women will have to take extra tests.

For every 200 women screened, 50-70 years old, one less woman will die of breast cancer compared to 200 women who aren’t screened.

Accordingly, in 2011, 7 out of 10 women invited to breast screening chose to go.

One of my cousins recently went for a screening after feeling pain on her right breast. Since she went to a private doctor, she was charged a little more than P2,000. If we go to our friendly OB-GYNE at Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center, we will most likely spend less. And we could also go to PhilHealth and see if there are packages which will cover this type of medical examination.

If we are to believe the news, PhilHealth is extending its

coverage even to non-members in accredited PhilHealth hospitals.

In cancer, it could not be emphasized more that prevention is better than cure.

And every day there are steps being taken to be able to battle this dreaded worldwide disease.

Pass the word. Go get screened now. Stand up to cancer.


I was with Uncle Ramon Dacawi during that fateful day I learned of my father’s passing. Talk about wrong timing since my mobile phone went dead in the middle of NLEX and in the middle of a terrible thunderstorm.

I believe it was he who phoned then City Administrator and now Councilor Peter Fianza and uncle Swanny Dicang to rush to BGH where my father was taken to the emergency room where he eventually expired.

We met an accident along the way but Uncle Mon and manong Peewee got us home safely.

Uncle Mon has always been there for my father and for our family. As he has been and always will be for many other families out there.

He is a man who shuns recognitions but it is fitting that he is now one of the Presidential Lingkod Bayan Award semi-finalists. And I could tell the other semi-finalists, you are in good company with Uncle Mon.

Congratulations, uncle. And mabuhay ka!