Women get free cancer checkup
To help stem the rising number of cervical cancer deaths every year, the Department of Health has announced that 65 government and private hospitals across the country are giving free cervical cancer screening to women aged 21 and over in the month of May.
The screening, in observance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, is part of the “Babae, Mahalaga Ka” program, a public-private partnership in collaboration with the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society and pharmaceutical firm Merck Sharp and Dohme.
The Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of the Philippines and the Philippine Society for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy are also part of the program.
“Please go to the nearest health center and avail of this free service so you can prevent cervical cancer,” Health Secretary Janette Garin appealed to Filipino women at a press conference Friday at the Dr. Fabella Memorial Hospital in Sta. Cruz, Manila.
Citing figures from the 2010 Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates, Garin noted that cervical cancer is the second largest cancer killer among Filipino women, next to breast cancer. At least 6,000 women are diagnosed with the disease every year and at least 12 of them die annually.
But, Garin said, cervical cancer can be treated and cured if detected early through screening.
A pap smear or visual inspection using acetic acid should be done on women who are sexually active or have a history of sexual contact to detect the disease, she said.
Studies have shown that 99 percent of cervical cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), an infection commonly spread during vaginal, oral or anal sex. HPV is also associated with the development of genital warts and oral, throat and anal cancer. Jocelyn R. Uy
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