The latest statistics for breast cancer among Filipino women are grim: according to an article on Xinhuanet.com, three out of every 100 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. And breast cancer has surpassed lung cancer as the most common cancer in the country. Raising awareness, as well as funds, in the Philippines is critical to fighting breast cancer.
Tying a pink ribbon
Social causes haven’t always been as well-organized as they are now; while private foundations have been established over the decades to help eradicate various diseases, it wasn’t until the Pink Ribbon Foundation was established in the early 1990’s that a dedicated effort to fight breast cancer was made. With the help of founder and pink ribbon creator Evelyn Lauder, the trend became an icon of breast cancer awareness.
Donating a stamp at a time
And several countries have joined the fight against breast cancer by issuing postage stamps to help raise money for the fight against breast cancer. The U.S. issued its first breast cancer research stamp in 1988, which has sold approximately $75 million since they were introduced; the stamps cost a bit more, but the extra money is donated to breast cancer research. More than 15 other countries now issue the stamp, and citizens of the Philippines are lobbying their government to join. The Philippines was one of the first countries to offer a stamp that help raise money for medical research with its anti-tuberculosis stamp introduced in the 1950’s.
A world free of breast cancer
There are several risks and factors that lead to a woman developing breast cancer, and elements like heredity and environment are often out of a woman’s control. But efforts to teach women and their families about breast cancer include education about the risks and factors they can control—diet, exercise, and other chemical exposures—and how they can seek appropriate treatment. With the work of ordinary people and the research of the medical community, the world is closer to a cure than ever before.
Breast cancer has taken the lives of women all over the world, and while we’ve made progress toward helping women survive and live with the disease, there’s still more work to be done. It’s important that both men and women are aware of how breast cancer can affect them, and of what they can do to help make breast cancer a distant memory.