The Association of Women Legislators Foundation, Inc. (AWLFI) chaired by Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez of Tingog party-list, in cooperation with the House committee on women and gender equality, leads anew the observance of the Pink October or the Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the House of Representatives.
The month-long international health campaign is intended to support breast cancer patients, raise awareness of the disease and promote early detection.
The celebration kicked off with a privilege speech by Representative Linabelle Ruth Villarica, president of the 85-strong AWLFI of the 19th Congress, during which she noted that the Philippines has the highest prevalence of breast cancer in Asia and the ninth highest in the world.
Aside from the established risk factor related to women’s reproductive cycle like early age up to menstruation, late age at first full-term pregnancy, number of children, weight, and genetic predisposition, there is an indication that women who work the graveyard shift may face up to 60% higher risk of breast cancer compared to those who never work at night.
Nighttime sleep deprivation or exposure to light at night interrupts melatonin production, and this stimulates the ovaries to release additional estrogen which is a known hormonal promoter of breast cancer, according to her.
Villarica urged the government’s cancer control in the Philippines to address this matter because as per data from the International Labor Organization in 2016, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry in the country that had reached 1.3 million was already composed of 53.2 per cent women.
“There must be a particular focus directed to the greater number of women in the workforce of the BPO industry who are at the greater risk due to their nighttime work schedule,” she said.
For this year’s celebration, the AWLFI also joins forces with the Soroptimist International of Ortigas and Environs and the Philippine Cancer Society, Inc. (PCS), as well as the House of Representatives’ GAD Focal Point and Medical and Dental Service, to promote awareness on breast cancer through the conduct of free mobile breast and cervical screening.
House secretariat and congressional staff will benefit from this undertaking to be held on October 6 at the Northwing Lobby of Congress.
PCS program director Romeo Marcaida and Pampanga Rep. Anna York Bondoc, will hold an awareness lecture on breast and cervix health prior to screening.
Patients with findings may also benefit from ultrasound and cryotherapy treatment afterwards.