Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada has boosted the city’s capability to fight breast cancer through the installation of a P20-million modern mammography machine in the city-run Justice Jose Abad Santos General Hospital in Binondo.
The mammography machine is the latest addition to the long line of medical equipment Estrada has recently procured to provide free, quality, and prompt medical services to 1.7-million Manileños.
Described as the leading killer of women worldwide aged 35 to 54, health officials said one in every three Filipinas are at risk of acquiring breast cancer.
According to the Philippine Breast Cancer Network, almost 500,000 die from the disease every year and that one out of 13 Filipino women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
The Philippines also has the highest incidence of breast cancer in Asia, and registered the highest increase, of 589 percent, among 187 countries over a 30-year period from 1980 to 2010.
“As part of our efforts in ensuring the health, welfare and development of all Manileños, we now have a mammography machine that will test or examine them for any indication that they might be developing breast cancer. Through this, they will be treated accordingly at once,” Estrada said.
Abad Santos Hospital will start offering free mammography this month, he added.
Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose X-rays to detect cancer early, before women experience symptoms, when it is most treatable, according to JJASGH director Dr. Merle Sacdalan-Faustino.
Faustino said one session with a mammography machine in private hospitals costs around P3,000, while at JJASGH it will be provided free to Manileños, like other medical procedures in all six city hospitals.
“This machine was given to us by Mayor Estrada as part of his hospital modernization program. We are expecting the inauguration of our mammography machine, which is the first among the six public hospitals in Manila, maybe before the end of January this coming year,” Faustino said.
The addition of mammography machine also further solidifies the special service of JJASGH, which has been adjudged by the Department of Health as a “mother-baby friendly” hospital, she added.
“This is a major move for us, especially since we have been known for catering to specific needs of mothers and their children,” Faustino said.
Estrada earlier put up an HIV treatment center at the city-owned Sta. Ana Hospital to provide special medical care to HIV/AIDS patients in Manila and aid the national government’s efforts to control the spread of the disease.
He also built a burn unit at the city-run Ospital ng Maynila to provide burn injury patients with free and comprehensive treatment, which entails huge costs in private medical facilities.