National Cancer Awareness Month is observed annually every February, with the aim of raising awareness about cancer and its early detection. The initiative hopes to educate the public about the disease and its risk factors while encouraging people to take proactive steps towards prevention and early intervention.
According to Dr. Rosario Pitargue, head of clinical oncology at the Region 1 Medical Center in Dagupan City, Pangasinan, increasing awareness and knowledge about cancer is crucial in improving cancer outcomes. “Early detection is paramount to its prevention, and it gives patients the best chance for successful treatment,” she said.
Cancer is a major public health concern in the Philippines, with an estimated 141,021 new cases and 86,337 deaths recorded in 2020, according to the Philippine Cancer Society. The most common cancers in the country are lung, breast, colorectal, liver, and prostate cancer.
However, many cases of cancer can be prevented or treated if detected early. Regular screening, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and avoiding risk factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to radiation and harmful chemicals can significantly reduce the risk of developing the disease.
National Cancer Awareness Month serves as a reminder for individuals to take charge of their health and well-being. It provides an opportunity for healthcare professionals, cancer survivors, and patient advocates to come together to share their knowledge and experiences, raise awareness, and support those affected by cancer.
This February, let us all take a moment to reflect on the impact of cancer and the importance of early detection. By working together and taking proactive steps towards prevention and early intervention, we can help reduce the burden of cancer in our communities and improve the quality of life for those affected by this disease.