Are we taking good care of our breast health? We should. In my case, close family members have passed away due to breast cancer. One is still fighting it now. And just in the last couple of years, at least two good blogger friends also crossed over due to breast cancer. October was Breast Cancer Awareness month and so I readily agreed to attend Health Cube‘s event to find out what technology is now out there to increase the chances of maintaining good breast health and address breast cancer more effectively.
Health Cube’s Advanced Medical Imaging Unit is situated inside a “green-certified” building along Ortigas Avenue – BTTC Centre. Actually I am already familiar with Health Cube as I used to see it along Wilson Street in San Juan whenever I would pass the building and buy my organic food from a store on the ground floor. As they grew bigger, it was just a matter of time before they moved out of Wilson Street and into Promenade, Greenhills Shopping Center, where they have complete laboratory testing services. Discovering there was a Health Cube inside BTTC Centre, specifically focused on medical imaging, was a pleasant surprise! The Advanced Medical Imaging Unit of Health Cube boasts of some of the most modern technology to check on women’s breast health (and much more).
The theme of Health Cube’s event was #FightLikeAGirl — so appropriate for us women who must really take care of ourselves first so we can carry on as nurturers of our families. First, we were treated to lunch and some short talks by special people – a surgeon and breast cancer advocate, Dr. Sherry Lee, and some breast cancer survivors.
Dr. Lee started with some Philippine statistics.
Who are at risk?
The following slides show who are at risk, according to Dr. Lee. Age, family history, personal medical history, early menstruation, late menopause, not having children before age 35 or at all, being overweight, alcohol, smoking, and prolonged use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) are all identified risk factors. Even if a woman does not fall under any of the risk factors stated but is over 40, she needs to have herself screened annually.
Don’t forget! I’ve got a giveaway at the end for you!
Even if you qualify under one or more of the risk factors above, there is no need to panic because you can empower yourself by taking some actions. Here are some things you need to kow.
#1: Breast cancer can be easily addressed with early detection.
The earlier breast cancer is detected, the earlier something can be done to treat it. It is the same with any disease. The longer one waits, the more serious it can be, with more complications, and surely more expensive to treat too.
Dr. Lee said that those who need regular checkups are those who are more at risk (see the slides above). Checking yourself is simple. It can be done while in the shower, lying in bed, or during a visit to your OB-Gyne. Here is an infographic of how to do it.
#2: Technology has improved considerably, making mammograms more comfortable and less painful.
When I last had my 2D mammogram, I stood in front of the machine and placed a breast alternately on a plate. The machine then pressed down on the breast as far as it could be flattened. It was not as painful as some other friends described it. Maybe my pain tolerance level was higher than theirs. But the mammogram results showed that I had dense breast tissue and results were inconclusive. I was told to take another test similar to an ultrasound to get better data.
The inability of 2D mammograms to detect dense breast tissue is now addressed by a 3D Tomosynthesis Mammogram. This machine can view breast tissue in 3D, giving pictures of tissue from all angles. It can help identify and characterize individual structures without co fusion of overlapping tissue.
Also called breast tomosynthesis, this new technology allows the physician to see thin mammography sections of the entire breast and gives a clearer image. This often reduces or eliminates the need for further examinations. Imagine, this would have seen through my dense breast tissue back then if the 3D mammogram was already available!
3D Mammography is better at detecting changes earlier than regular 2D scans. It can help distinguish superimposed tissue from real abnormalities, leading to less anxiety for women whenever they are due for a breast examination.
#3: Health Cube in Ortigas Avenue now offers 3D Mammography as well as other advanced screening services.
Right in the heart of Metro Manila, along Ortigas Avenue, Health Cube offers 3D Mammography. The entire procedure can be as quick as 10 minutes and costs PhP 3,200.
Their other services include:
Also called dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), a Bone Densitometry is an enhanced xray technology that measures the strength of your bones. It can detect serious bone loss (osteoporosis). It is the standard in checking bone mineral density.
Mind you, this is not the kind of machine found in malls where they measure from your wrist or ankle. This is a full-body assessment taken lying down. This procedure is painless and non-invasive, takes about 10 minutes also and costs PhP 5,000.
When I did get tested at the malls, the tests would show that I am osteopenic (the result of an unhealthy lifestyle during my corporate years) but a comprehensive body check, like the one available at Health Cube, will either confirm it or prove these previous tests wrong. I need this test regularly to see if my osteopenia improves. It is so important to have strong bones as we grow older so we do not increase our risk of fractures that could make us immobile down the road.
I was so happy to find out they had a CT scan machine with complete support facilities at Health Cube. This actually solved one of my dilemmas. I hate going to hospitals unless absolutely necessary. Horror stories fill my mind, among them, catching illnesses from the “dirty air” in hospitals. And yet CT scan labs are located right inside main hospitals. With Health Cube offering the exact service offsite, my family can have any CT scan done more safely.
Join my giveaway!
I want to give one of you a chance to try the latest and most effective breast screening technology with a free 3D mammogram at Health Cube so you can really see the difference between this and our usual 2D mammogram tests. The mechanics will be easy.
- This giveaway is open only to those living in the Philippines. Anyone in the Philippines can join but the winner must provide her own transportation expense to/from Health Cube Ortigas (only the 3D mammogram test itself is covered by this giveaway). Only one (1) winner will be chosen.
- Follow my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/philippinebeat)
- Follow the Facebook page of Health Cube Greenhills (www.facebook.com/healthcubephilippines)
- Leave a short comment here or on my Facebook page (it must be a comment under the Health Cube post), sharing your thoughts on the importance of spreading awareness about breast health. Also include your email address with your entry so I can contact you if you happen to be our winner.
- This contest begins November 2 and ends November 15, 11:59PM. I will close off the comments section here after that time and also announce the end of contest on my Facebook page.
- I will select the winner and will announce it here on November 17 before 5pm. I will also email the winner privately for further instructions. The decision is final.
- The giveaway is non-transferable as far as my contest is concerned since I will need to submit the winner’s name to Health Cube. If, for any reason, the winner cannot take the test herself and wants to nominate another in her place, this should be arranged directly by the winner with Health Cube.
Take breast health seriously. Go for checkups regularly and in between doctor checkups, do your own monthly check.
You can find Health Cube here:
Health Cube Greenhills Inc.
Basement 1 Promenade, Greenhills, San Juan City
Tel (02) 650-1111
Health Cube Advanced Medical Imaging Unit
Ground level, BTTC Centre, 288 Ortigas Avenue cor. Roosevelt St., Greenhills, San Juan City
Tel (02) 650-2222