CEBU CITY, Cebu—As the whole country commemorates Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (EJACC) of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI) urged the public to engage in early detection and prevention measures to fight breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Cebuano women, based on the Cebu Population-based Cancer Registry of EJACC.

From 1993 to 2007, EJACC recorded a total of 3,005 reported breast cancer cases in Metro Cebu. Breast cancer, which is characterized by an abnormal growth of breast cells, is most common in women ages 30 to 59.

EJACC initiated its own efforts to raise public awareness on the importance of early cancer detection and prevention. One of these is Moonwalk: A Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness, a unique advocacy campaign of RAFI held every full moon of October, which aims to promote the importance of observing monthly breast self-examination for women aged 20 and beyond.

Moonwalk also aims to popularize the importance of early detection practices, including breast self-examination, regular clinical breast examination, and annual mammography screening.

This year, Moonwalk will be held on Oct. 12 when participants from different sectors, including cancer patients and survivors, youths, professionals, and women from the barangays, walk from Cebu Business Park to The Walk at Asiatown I.T. Park.

“It is important to detect breast cancer at an early stage as, like many forms of cancer, breast cancer may be more easily cured with early detection,” Ronald delos Reyes, program coordinator for EJACC, said.

The primary risk factors for breast cancer are sex, old age, lack of childbearing or breastfeeding, higher hormone levels (specifically estrogen), dietary iodine deficiency, high fat diets, alcohol intake, tobacco use, obesity, and hereditary factors.

There are steps every person can take to help the body stay as healthy as possible and lower the risk of breast cancer, such as maintaining a healthy weight, breastfeeding for lactating mothers, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and exercising regularly.
EJACC offers annual monthly breast and cervical cancer screenings and provide assistance like mammography screening for high-risk patients to detect malignancies.

EJACC is a program under the Integrated Development focus area of RAFI, addressing health issues of communities in order to create a better quality of life. Its other focus areas are Micro-finance and Entrepreneurship, Culture & Heritage, Leadership and Citizenship, and Education.

For more information about breast cancer, or to register for Moonwalk, please contact (63 32)254-6531 and look for Gina Mariquit.