Sunday, August 27, 2017

20 Solid Years of Fierce Breast Cancer Advocacy since 1997

Rosa Francia-Meneses had just attended the 1st World Conference on Breast Cancer in Kingston, Ontario on July 1997. She was the lone breast cancer patient from the Philippines in that historical gathering to take strong action in eradicating the disease. Six months earlier, she had lost her left breast without her consent. But instead of finding the cure, she realized why all women were at risk of getting this incurable disease.

On her 45th birthday, Rosa without any hesitation, boldly founded the Philippine Breast Cancer Network on August 28th 1997. It has now been a full 20 years since then and the landscape of breast cancer in the Philippines has radically changed.  The environmental causes of breast cancer has reached public awareness, the falsehood of mammography has become known and natural means have now been opted to by breast cancer victims.

From nationwide symposiums to live radio/TV interviews to Senate public hearings, the PBCN has steadfastly pursued its high level of patient advocacy as opposed to the pharmaceutical industry’s stranglehold on breast cancer. With the advent of social media, the PBCN has been able to widely disseminate valuable information, wilfully withheld by local media and government authorities. The terrible silence of pain and suffering by countless victims of this unacceptable public epidemic now has a very strong voice.

In a country where the majority of women remain marginalized in almost all aspects of modern life, one cannot imagine how many women and families the PBCN has empowered in the span of 20 solid years. With numerous testimonies from all over the Philippines and the entire world, the legacy of Rosa Francia-Meneses lives on. Her story, her struggle, her climb – her stolen breast, has touched untold numbers of lives the world over. And if not for breast cancer, Rosa would have been 65 years old today.

“Freedom from Breast Cancer”   

The PBCN takes this occassion to extend its heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to each and all who have unselfishly supported the PBCN in this most difficult journey.