Thousands of people gathered in Taipei early yesterday morning to attend an event aimed at raising public awareness about breast cancer, which the organizers said has become increasingly prevalent among Taiwanese women.
More than 3,000 breast cancer patients and other people concerned about the issue thronged the plaza in front of Yuanshan MRT Station long before 9am, the time when the 8km walk along a riverside path in Taipei was scheduled to begin.
The Formosa Cancer Foundation, which organized the day-long event called “Walking Is Beautiful,” said the aim was to encourage more people to pay attention to the most common type of cancer among women.
The foundation said that the number of Taiwanese women suffering from breast cancer has increased steadily in recent years.
According to statistics provided by the Bureau of Health Promotion, the number of breast cancer cases in the country was about 5,000 in 2006, but by 2008, the number had jumped to 8,136.
The foundation said that although the disease is more common among women, this is not an issue only women should be concerned about. The whole family should look squarely at this issue, especially husbands, it added.
Among the 3,000 people who joined the walk were Luo Hsiao-min and his wife. Luo said his wife has been fighting breast cancer for seven years and constant care and attention is necessary.
“In fact, the physical treatment is not a big problem,” he said. “It is the mental therapy that is crucial.”
Luo said his wife tried twice in the early stages of the disease to end her life, but he stood by her all the way through.
The chairman of the foundation, Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng, made three suggestions to help prevent cancer.
He said people should have regular mammograms, eat more fruit and vegetables and get more exercise.
To emphasize the point, Wang and Chien Wen-jen (簡文仁), -director of the National Federation of Associations of Physical Therapists, led the crowd in a warm-up exercise before the walk.
A series of performances and activities, including contests and prize drawings, were scheduled to take place at the end of the walk at the Dajia Riverside Park, the organizers said.