People from all walks of life holding pink balloons and banners gathered and walked together to echo to the public the importance of breast cancer prevention and early detection.
Around 3,000 participants walked from the Plaza Independencia to Fuente Osmeña Circle last Oct. 2 to observe the annual 9th Moonwalk: A Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness, an advocacy campaign of the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI).
Donna Diamante, 58, a cancer awareness advocate, said she hoped her participation would help push the importance of early breast cancer screening and detection.
“I dedicate my walk to myself, my children, and my mother-in-law. I have always been an advocate of breast cancer awareness. We have the option to live and fight the disease. We have to be educated and do the necessary screenings to detect breast cancer early and have it treated early as well,” Diamante, a Destiny Medical Fund representative, said.
Breast cancer is usually caused by sex, old age, no of childbearing or breastfeeding, higher hormone levels (specifically estrogen), dietary iodine deficiency, high fat diets, alcohol intake, tobacco use, obesity and hereditary factors. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Cebuano women, based on the Cebu population-based Cancer Registry of RAFI.
This motivated the Eduardo J. Aboitiz Cancer Center (EJACC) to organize the Moonwalk to inform the public about the importance of breast self-examination among women 20 years old and beyond, and annual clinical breast examination and annual mammography screening for women aged 40 and above.
The walk is held every October in celebration of the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
During the Moonwalk, participants danced to the drum beats, shouted and waved their pink balloons throughout the parade routes.
For nursery teacher Allen Canoy, he said “Our strides are for all the women who survived and fought against cancer. The more people will participate, the more people will become aware about early cancer screening and treatment,” he added. Canoy said that while there are few cases of men who contracted breast cancer, they should always be vigilant because cancer will strike anytime.
“Let’s be responsible for our own health. We hold the key to a better and healthy life. Prevention is always better than cure. This walk is dedicated to our mothers, sisters, grandmothers and to all the women around the world. Don’t wait for the disease to come; fight it early on,” he said, raising his pink banner.
Still in their uniforms, students from the different colleges and universities in Cebu City also showed their support for the advocacy.
Shiela Mizal, a nursing student of Asian College of Technology, said learning about breast cancer is the first step in the battle against the disease.
“While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to detect the disease in its early stage (thus having the walk),” Ronald delos Reyes, EJACC program coordinator said.
At the end of the walk at Osmena Fuente Circle, the Destiny Medical Fund Inc. emerged the Pinkiest Group, the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) beneficiaries from Lapu-Lapu City were adjudged the Liveliest Group and the Cebu City Daycare Workers’ Federation was awarded the Best Breast Chant.
The winning groups will choose a community that will benefit from a free breast cancer screening by EJACC as their rewards.
The was in collaboration with the Task Force Cancer of Cebu City and other cancer support groups, such as Kahayag Network of Cancer Support Group, I Can Serve Foundation Inc., Cebu Cancer Fight Inc., Cebu Breast Association and CAN with GOD. /Chrisley Ann Hinayas/Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.