The UP Open University (UPOU) Health and Wellness Committee, chaired by Asst. Prof. Rita Ramos, and the UPOU Office of Gender Concerns (OGC), with Asst. Prof. Finaflor Taylan as the Director, partnered with the Los Baños Doctor’s Hospital and Medical Center (LBDHMC) in the celebration of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month of October, and as part of the LBDHMC Mammogram Awareness Campaign entitled “Bida Breast.”  The celebration was done through a lecture about Breast Cancer and the importance of early detection among women, held on 12 October 2016 at the UPOU Audio-visual Room in Los Baños, Laguna.

In her welcome remarks, Dr. Jean A. Saludadez, UPOU Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration (VCFA), stressed the importance of a healthy workforce in any organization. She advised the UPOU employees to put into action the things that they will learn in the lecture and not take for granted the opportunities in learning through UPOU-organized events.  She also applauded the efforts of the UPOU team behind the activity.

Ms. Nisa Lee Fuentes, Registered Radiologic Technologist at the LBDHMC, was the event’s resource speaker. According to Ms. Fuentes, breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. “Philippines tops in breast cancer incidence around Asia,” she stated. In 2016, breast cancer incidence in Filipino women increased 500% compared to 2015. Ms. Fuentes emphasized that one way to prevent breast cancer is early detection through regular breast self-exams and undergoing annual mammography exams, or mammogram, especially for women age 40 and above. Mammography, according to Ms. Fuentes, “is a specialized medical imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system to see inside the breasts.” She encouraged all women, even though busy with their families and work, to take time to check themselves.  She also demonstrated how to do the breast self-exam.

Along with Ms. Fuentes from LBDHMC, were Ms. Ashtin Claire Nevalga, Radiologic Technologist, and Mr. Rodel Lawas, Marketing Associate. Mr. Lawas presented the hospital’s mammogram and breast ultrasound packages and mentioned that in celebration of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, rates for theses services are discounted for the entire month of October.

The activity ended with Dr. Saludadez presenting the certificate of appreciation to Ms. Fuentes for sharing her knowledge about breast cancer awareness.  Asst. Prof. Ramos, who served as the master of ceremonies, thanked the resource persons from LBDHMC for making UPOU a part of their campaign, and the acknowledgement of the UPOU audience for their participation and willingness to learn to improve their health and wellness. She mentioned that the UPOU Health and Wellness Committee has planned more activities for the university for the remainder of the year. (Anna Cañas-Llamas)