DAGUPAN CITY – In observance of the Breast Cancer Awareness month this October, the Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Cancer Institute, in cooperation with the Philippine Society of Medical Oncology, conducted a breast cancer fair at the CSI City Mall Atrium on October 2.

More than 200 participants comprised of the city’s barangays health workers and breast cancer survivors attended the event which aimed to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education on its symptoms and treatment.

This is the first Breast Cancer Fair conducted by the Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Cancer Institute in Pangasinan.

The program was formally opened with a mass celebrated by Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

Several topics were taken up during the event, with Dr. Michelle Melendez discussing details and information about breast cancer and Dr. Meredith Garcia-Trinidad tackling the effects of herbal medicine as its treatment.

The importance of breast examination as a way to detect the possible early signs of cancer was also highlighted in the discussions.

An open forum was also held to answer the queries of the attendees.

Singer and breast cancer awareness advocate Marissa Sanchez entertained the guests..

Meanwhile, lifestyle sessions particularly on Beauty Wellness and Healthy Diet Preparation were held, with instructions coming from Vibrante Salon and Panaderia Antonio, respectively.

Other activities such as Zumba dance exercise and raffle draws were also participated in by the attendees.

 Dr. Rosario Pitargue, Head of Cancer Institute Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Hospital, , underscored the importance of tapping the city’s Barangay Health Workers as partners against breast cancer.

“With breast cancer considered as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, most women are afraid to be examined by doctors so they would be more inclined to approach their barangay health workers. So, tinatarget namin na maeducate sila para doon pa lang, alam na nila kung ito ay delikado na at kailangang sumangguni ang isang babae sa doctor na mag-examine ang kanyang breasts.” said Dr. Pitargue.

Pitargue also encouraged women to learn how to perform breast self-examinations as it is commonly used as an early detection method for breast cancer.

“Ang pagsusuri din ng isang doctor should be once a year. And the guideline is, there should be an annual mammogram yearly for those aged 50 and above.” added Dr. Pitargue.

Meanwhile, Mayor Belen T. Fernandez encouraged those in attendance to be advocates against breast cancer through information dissemination.

“Sana ma-guide natin yung iba, with the help of Dagupan Doctors Villaflor Cancer Institute. You have to share what you learned and for some, what you experienced, so that we can help others. Health has always been one of the main priorities here in Dagupan City. Yung isang buhay na masi-save– na mapapahaba ang buhay ng isang nanay o tatay, napakalaking bagay na sa isang pamilya. Madami tayong matutulungan na pamilya.” said Fernandez. (Verdelle De Vera/CIO)