By Teodoro B. Padilla
A cloud with a bright outline along its edges indicates that the sun is behind it. This natural phenomenon is the basis of the popular saying “every dark cloud has a silver lining,” which means it is possible for something good to come out of a bad situation.
On Sept. 28, a Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., the ICANSERVE Foundation will hold its fourth “Silver Linings” forum at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City. The largest gathering of breast cancer survivors in the country, “Silver Linings” features interactive and creatively delivered presentations on various topics to address the different needs of breast cancer patients, their family, friends, and medical support team.
Topics range from the personal and medical to advocacy. These include “Everything you need to know about breast cancer; “Can one have children after cancer?”; “How to deal with a Stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis?”; “Does cancer run in my family?”; “What is my follow-up care?”; “Dealing with anxiety and depression during cancer”; “Healing through storytelling”; “Eating right”; “Meditation”; “Gentle Yoga”; “Where to Find Financial Assistance”; and “What’s in store for you in the new Cancer Law?,” among others. Free X-ray, BMI measurement, and consultation with doctors, and many more freebies will also be offered during the event.
“‘Silver Linings’ is a day of education and inspiration. It is also an opportunity to forge friendships and partnerships with the Filipino breast cancer community,” says ICANSERVE Foundation Founding President Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, a journalist, breast cancer survivor, and patient advocate.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, affecting 2.1 million women each year, and also the of cause of the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women. It added that early detection is key to improve breast cancer outcomes and survival. The early detection strategies involve early diagnosis and screening.
Founded in 1999 by four breast cancer survivors led by Kara, ICANSERVE advocates early breast cancer detection through high impact information campaigns and community-based screening programs. It empowers women with breast cancer and provides women with cancer-related information so they can have a voice in their own health care. It offers hope so women will not feel alone in their journey. Volunteers are cancer survivors willing to share their light with other patients and survivors so that their path is better lit, and the journey, lighter. ICANSERVE is the only local foundation that has institutionalized early breast cancer detection in partnership with local government partners. It has also started institutionalizing patient navigation through local laws.
The three previous “Silver Linings” forums were held in Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Davao City. This year’s Silver Linings is special because it coincides with the 20th anniversary of the ICANSERVE Foundation. With a minimal fee, pre-registration can be done online at http://icanservefoundation.org/?page_id=4787 or register on site on Sept. 28.
Teodoro B. Padilla is the executive director of Pharmaceutical and the Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP). Medicine Cabinet is a weekly PHAP column that aims to promote awareness on public health and health care related issues. PHAP and its member companies represent the research-based pharmaceutical and health care industry.