Manila, 2 May 2011 – Awareness and prevention have their perks, because the next life you save might be your own. It is estimated that 12 Filipino women die of cervical cancer every day, making it the second most common cancer among women in the Philippines. Worldwide, there are about 500,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, 6000 of which occur in the Philippines.
The disease indisputably carries great repercussions in the quality of life of patients and their families. According to an epidemiology study conducted from 2004 – 2008, cervical cancer is diagnosed at median age of 48, with high incidence between 35 to 54 years of age – the stage considered to be the peak of a woman’s productivity and family life. Many cervical cancer cases are already in the late or terminal stages of the disease when diagnosed.
To mark Cervical Cancer Awareness month this May, the Department of Health (DOH), along with global pharmaceutical company, MSD, and medical societies namely, the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of the Philippines (SGOP), and the Philippine Society for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy (PSCPC), is set to kick off its free nationwide cervical cancer screening for women ages 30 to 45 years at the Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila. Regional kick-off gatherings are also set at the Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, and Davao Medical Center.
The program is set to cover 58 DOH-retained hospitals nationwide, and will run for the whole month of May. The schedule for the free screenings is slated every Mondays in Metro Manila; every Wednesdays in Luzon; every Thursdays in Visayas; and every Tuesdays in Mindanao.
Cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV which is the most common sexually transmitted infection in both men and women. HPV is highly transmissible and may lead not only to cervical cancer but also cancer of the vulva, vagina, anus and head and neck cancers as well as genital warts. Vaccination can help protect against cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases in both men and women. Secondary prevention through regular screening can help detect cervical cancer in its early stage and increases the chances of survival.
This May, let us remember Babae, Mahalaga Ka! Help prevent cervical cancer through screening and vaccination.
For the list of DOH-retained hospitals, go to http://www2.doh.gov.ph/doh_retained_hospital.htm.
For more information on cervical cancer and other HPV diseases, go to www.helpfightHPV.com