Southeast Asian countries come together towards a #BetterFuture4BreastCancer

[From left] Giselle Arroyo, ICanServe Volunteer; Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Founding President of ICANSERVE Foundation, Inc.; Crisann Celdran, Chairman of the Board; Alya Honasan, breast cancer survivor; Nikoy De Guzman, President of ICANSERVE Foundation, Inc; Teocel Apolona, Project Manager for SEABCS
Medical professionals, healthcare workers, cancer survivors, patient groups, government, researchers from all over the region are convening for the 6th Southeast Asian Breast Cancer Symposium presented by the ICanServe Foundation. This year’s theme is centered on Designing a Better Future for the Global Breast Cancer Community.

Over 50 speakers from different parts of the world including Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, Former President of the Union for International Cancer Control, Dr. Ben Anderson, an internationally recognized leader in cancer control from the World Health Organization, Sec. Paulyn Ubial, former Secretary of the Department of Health, will join moderators and a panel of reactors in a 3-day conference happening on September 23-25. The event will take place on-ground and online, with attendees from all over Southeast Asia.

“It’s an opportunity to figure out as a region how best to create and sustain a robust, responsive health system, to project what makes cancer in our region unique, so we are well represented in the global cancer space whether in the creation of global health initiatives, research, clinical trials, advocacy or access to grants. Ultimately, we want all breast cancer patients to have equal access to affordable, quality, timely care,” says Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, ICanServe Founding President.

Alya Honasan, breast cancer survivor, revealed the cover of the ICANSERVE Patient Manual. The Patient Manual will be launched officially on the last day of the 6th Southeast Asian Breast Cancer Symposium (SEABCS) happening on September 23-25. It will be downloadable for free at the ICANSERVE website. Looking on is ICANSERVE president Nikoy de Guzman.

The ICanServe Foundation is proud to have been invited by the Global Focus on Cancer to be this year’s host and thankful for the support of its partners like the UICC, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), ABC Global Alliance, Reach to Recovery International, Philippine College of Surgeons, Philippine Society of Breast Surgeons, Philippine Society of Medical Oncology, Philippine Society of Oncologists, Inc, the Cancer Coalition Philippines, Suandok Breast Cancer Network, Yayasan Kanker Payudara Indonesia, and Shwe Yaung Hnin Si Cancer Foundation.

“As host, ICanServe designed the event and the program with the help of partners,” Magsanoc-Alikpala says. “We struck a balance so we would appeal to different stakeholders, including those in the NGO space, not necessarily cancer focused. We have design thinking, social media, organizational management, even artificial intelligence-related topics. For the health professionals, we will introduce mostly new studies and breakthroughs . There are topics for cancer survivors at any point in their journey.”

Everyone is welcome to join. Registration is free at https://seabcsphilippines.ph/

SEABCS is made possible by Pfizer, Roche, AIA, Novartis, De Guzman Group, Nutriasia, Unilab, Healthway Cancer Care Hospital, In the Pink and Globe.

PATIENT MANUAL

ICANSERVE’s comprehensive and engaging Manual is designed to guide breast cancer patients, survivors, and their caregivers throughout every step of their journey, from understanding their diagnosis to living beyond cancer. Written entirely by breast cancer survivors, the Breast Cancer Patient’s Manual delivers vital information in a conversational manner to help patients feel less overwhelmed and intimidated.

A source of information and encouragement, the Manual combines information gleaned from studies and established sources, such as the American Cancer Society, the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins University, Philippine Cancer Society, and more, as well as individual experiences and anecdotes from breast cancer survivors. It covers a wide range of topics, from the medical (understanding treatment options, managing side effects), to the personal (how to tell your family and friends), to the practical (financing cancer treatment). “We made sure to tell real stories, in a language and manner that every survivor or advocate can relate to,” says the Manual’s editor Alya B. Honasan. “For every member of the editorial team, it was all about reaching out to sisters who needed help.”

ICANSERVE goes back to its roots with this project. Founded in 1999 by four breast cancer survivors—Kara Magsanoc-Alikpala, Crisann Celdran, Becky Fuentes, and Bet Lazatin—its first project was a printed guidebook that was distributed for free in the days when information on breast cancer was much harder to come by. The foundation has since evolved into one of the Philippines’ most active cancer patient advocacy groups, taking part in policy-making and institutionalizing breast cancer control programs.

The Manual will be available for free as a downloadable book after the launch.

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