Five years ago, a cousin succumbed to breast cancer complications. I thought of sharing a brief story about her cancer journey in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
My cousin was newly married and starting to build a family when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy to remove the early stage of cancer from the affected breast.
But two years later, her oncologist disclosed she had stage IV cancer. The cancer cells from her breast were not contained but had spread to her brain.
Despite the pains and rigors of cancer treatment, my cousin remains positive through her battle. Even up to her few remaining days, we know that she is holding on to her life. She loves her family so much that despite being sick, she still thinks of their welfare. I remember her saying, “Kailangan maging malakas ang loob ko para sa pamilya” (I need to be strong for my family).
She may be terminally ill, but nothing prepared us for her passing.
My cousin died peacefully at the hospital four days before Christmas. She was only 46.
Our extended family welcomed 2016 with a heavy heart. She was laid to rest after a long, painful fight with cancer.
The observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the Philippines highlights the importance of regular self-breast examination and the early detection and treatment of breast cancer among Filipino women.
A breast self-examination (BSE) is a method to detect any noticeable changes in one’s breast. Early detection of any changes in the breast and seeking immediate consultation will increase one’s chances of successful treatment.
The 2020 Global Cancer Observatory showed that breast cancer is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the Philippines.
The high global incidence of the disease paved the way for the popular movement called Pink October in the 1990s. Source: DOH