cancer is a disease in which malignant tumors or cancer cells developing from
breast’s cells. Breast cancer is the most common intrusive cancer in woman but can
also affect men. The symptoms of breast cancer are having a lump or tissue in
the breast become thick, and changes in breast’s skin or nipples. Even not all
lumps are cancerous, women should consider to consult a doctor. Other symptoms
include redness of the skin around the breast, rashes, sunken or inverted
nipple, change in breast size and skin problem in the breast (Christian
main cause is not yet discovered but some risk factors for having breast cancer
can usually depend on the age, genetics, history of breast cancer, estrogen
exposure, high density of breast tissue, obesity, alcohol consumption and
exposure to radiation. The most common reason of having breast cancer is
genetics, since breast cancer genes can be inherited, especially to those who
have a family history of breast cancer (Dr. Jerry Balentine, 2017).
to National Cancer Institute, Ductal carcinoma and Lobular carcinoma are the
two types of breast cancer. Ductal carcinoma, consider as the most common type
of breast cancer, starts in the cell of the ducts that have abnormal cells that
haven’t spread outside the duct. Lobular carcinoma begins in the lobules and in
other tissues in the breast. Ductal carcinoma and Lobular carcinoma can be
categorized as Invasive breast cancer in which where the spread began (ducts or
Breast cancer stage depends
on the size of the tumor. It has four stages, the stage one of breast cancer is
that the cancer cell not yet infected the tissues. Stage two of breast cancer
grows two centimeters across the breast. Stage three of the breast cancer is it
spreads to some lymph nodes. The last critical stage is stage four in which the
cancer cells were spread to different organs, especially bone, brain, liver or
are different kinds of treatment like, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation
therapy, biological therapy, or targeted drug therapy. Breast cancer treatment still depends on the
type and stage of breast cancer, age of the patient, health and other references.
There is no definite prevention of breast cancer, but some healthy lifestyle
would help to decrease the chances of having one (Christian Nordqvist,
According to Laudico et al. (2015),
the important information to overcome cancer is to know the mortality and
survival rate. Cancer mortality tells the number of people who has cancer and
is mostly expressed in amount of cases 100,000 per population. Cancer survival
rate tells us the number of people who are diagnosed with cancer and their
In the Philippines, the 2012
statistics of people who had cancer is increasing with age. The childhood
cancer (0-14) is composed of 2.2% while the 25% occured to people who are 65
and older. The mortality rate of the death number of people has cancer is also
increasing as they get older.
In 2015, breast cancer ranks first
with an estimated 20,267 cases to happen among women. They usually start at the
age of 30. The estimated death in 2015 due to breast cancer is 7,384, which is
the highest leading cause of cancer deaths among women.
Study from World Cancer Research
Fund found out that nearly 1.7 million cases worldwide are diagnosed with
breast cancer in 2012. While in the Philippines, 30% of breast cancer occurs
among women. The survival rate of breast
cancer depends on the availability of medical facalities and instruments in
their country. In the Philippines, the
survival rate of breast cancer is below 40% because many of the cases are
diagnosed in their late stages. (Limos, 2017)
to Breast Cancer Org. (2018) , the growth of breast cancer cells may occur in
both men and women. Even though they have the same symptoms, they are still
differed from each other. It is highly believed that this disease is more
common and dominant in women, due to the fact that they have exceedingly level
As stated from National Cancer
Institute (2012) ” The strongest risk
factor of breast cancer is age.” The possible risk to develop a breast cancer,
increases as women get older. It means that middle-aged women are most likely
to experience it. Middle age is between 45 – 65, according to Oxford English
Dictionary. At the age of 50, around 75%
of middle-aged women suffer from this cancer.
According to Therese Bevers, M.D,(2015 ), a
menopausal in women does not cause cancer but it may increase the possibility
to develop a cancer. She also said that it’s not good for a woman to be exposed
from estrogen for a longer period of time.One example of this is if a woman
started menstruation at the very young age and when the menopausal stage ended
lately . And she added that ” Gaining weight after menopause increases a
woman’s risk of breast cancer, but losing weight after menopause can actually
reduce your risk. A thousands of tiny glands that produces milk is what a women
breast made-up of. If the breast cell is higher than the breast tissue, then
the breast tissue will be denser and it is considered as cancerous.
(2012) The development of precancerous cells is normal in our body, but when a
person is young and has a strong immunity system, then the cancer cell was able
to be killed. He also stated that “With aging our immune system weaken and may
fail to target some of the precancerous cells”.
Every year, about
3% of women’s population are said to have experience breast
cancer. You think there’s no way
that you’ll have it. But once it does, there’s nothing you
could do even if you don’t want
to believe it. It’ll be hard and you’ll feel like the world have already given
up on you. What makes it worse are the treatments that you have to
go through to survive and there’s
even no guarantee that you will survive. You will have
to go through a series of test
and therapies that just made you feel weaker. Having breast cancer is scary.
But it will made you stronger once you survived it. It will made
you a better changed person. Five
middle-aged women who survived cancer share their stories to inspire others.
The first one is Veck Arjona. She
found out she had Stage 2 breast cancer through her typical checkup. In January
8, after she had found out about this terrifying news, she underwent a biopsy
procedure and mastectomy. She had cycles of six of chemotherapy and had
medicines for five years. In January 2014, she had an ultrasound and it sounds
like her uterine lining is thickening, so in that case she underwent a removal
of ovaries and uterus that is called hysterectomy.
“My journey as a breast cancer
survivor has taught me so many things in life,” Veck said. “I realized that,
indeed, health is wealth.” She learned to focus more on the important things
rather than the not-really-important things in her life. She focused on her
family, friends, her health and of course her spiritual wellbeing.
The second one is Lourdes Lontoc,
also known as Mama Luds to her children and grandchildren. It happened more
than a decade ago, when she found out about having a breast cancer. “Meron na
akong bukol noon sa ilalim ng left breast ko,” Luds said, she added that she
underwent a mastectomy and chemotherapy for a period of six months so it will
be guaranteed that cancer wouldn’t come back. “Hindi naman ako natakot na baka hindi ako makarecover,”
she said. “Basta walang lungkot, walang takot. Dahil siguro sa dami ng prayers.
Madaming nagpray para sa akin.”
Nine years after her fight with
breast cancer which is today, Mama Luds is now happier because of her four
children and 13 grandchildren. She advised that if you are suffering of a
breast cancer, you should always obey what your doctor tells you. “Yung iba
kasi, pag sinabihan na kailangan ng chemo, hindi nagpapachemo,” Luds said.
“Always pray din, at wag mawawalan ng pag-asa, dahil kung hindi mo lalakasan
ang loob mo, wala ka.”
The third one is Isabel Sanchez.
Her fight against breast cancer started in 2007 at the age of 43. She was
working on a factory in Korea wheen she found out about having a stage 3A
breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and a mastectomy. “I wasn’t depressed
na wala na siya. Hindi ko inisip na, ‘Ay wala na akong left breast.’ Ang inisip
ko, ‘Ay wala na akong cancer,'” Isabel said. “Tuwing tinatanong ako ng mga tao,
‘Paano mo nakayanan yung mag-isa ka lang sa Korea tapos you had cancer?’ Ang
sagot ko lang lagi, ‘kasi hindi ako pinabayaan ni God.'”
“After I recovered, my life changed.
I became more patient and more understanding. I stopped planning for life,” she
The fourth one is Evelyn Yoro. In
2007, Evelyn had a mammogram and a breast ultrasound because there is a lump on
her right breast that brings discomfort and pain. The results were out after
two days: Category Bi-Rads 5, which have a possibility that she have a cancer.
That same year on September 3, she had a biopsy of the tumor and it is indeed a
cancer. It was just then that her doctor said it was Stage 2A breast cancer.
On September 11, she underwent
mastectomy. “I told myself, ‘One tower down.’ I intentionally chose 9/11 as the
date of my operation. It reminded me of when the terrorists brought down the
World Trade Center,” Evelyn said. “Having this experience gave me a sense of
empathy with those who are going through the same journey,” she added. After
her chemo, she joined a cancer support group called Corridor of Hope on St.
Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City. As of today, she became the Vice
President of the organization.
The last one out of five is Lian
Chua. Lian found out and was diagnosed in March 2001 with Stage 2A breast
cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and also hormonal therapy, she even took
medications but despite that she didn’t stop working while going through the
treatment. After five years, she had vaginal bleeding, it eventually led to
having a polyp in her lining. Later on, she found out that polyp could lead to
cancer. That was when she was diagnosed again with cancer, this time it is
Stage 1B uterine cancer and underwent a whole hysterectomy in July that same
Two years after that, she felt as
if there’s a fishbone in her throat, she had checkup, it was shocking to found
out that her right tonsil was inflamed. Her doctor gave her antibiotics, but it
didn’t work. She underwent a lot of tests and found out she had a Non-Hodgkin
Lymphoma Diffuse Large B-Cell. For a period of 10 years, it was the third time
she was diagnosed with cancer.
“I thought, ‘This may be it,'”
Chua said. “But now, after five years from my last treatment, I am still alive.
I am a living witness that cancer can be cured. It is not a death sentence.
There is life after cancer, and I’m proud to say I am a survivor!”
That ends the stories of the five
middle-aged women survivors of breast cancer. Not all can talk about their
experiences because like I said, breast cancer is a terrifying disease. The
killer is still out there to take lives of thousands of women in the
Philippines every year. That brings along the fear, anger, confusion, and
sharing it for the world to know is beyond courageous.
These five women just did that.
They have a message for all of the women that is currently going through breast
cancer: get a checkup, take action of what is needed to do and by that it means
the treatments to be done, and one should never give up and believe that you’ll
survived this just like them.