Saturday, June 5, 2010

No Woman Caught Unaware

Tick-tock. 2 hours have passed. A woman has just died from its deathly grip.
Tick-tock. In 2 more hours, one more Filipina will perish. And when the day is over, 12 would have fallen victim.

If you are a woman, take heed. Because this serial female killer is out there, waiting to strike. All around the world, it has killed millions of women already – and will likely kill the millions more who remain unaware that they could be the next target of this fatal female disease known as cervical cancer. 

According to the Department of Health, cervical cancer is considered the second most common female cancer in the Philippines today. An estimated 7,277 new cases are reported every year – a number that is said to inaccurately represent the whole population, considering that the surveys to determine the estimate were conducted only in Rizal, Cebu, and Davao. In any case, more than half of this number will die because of the disease within 5 years, simply because women are uneducated on how to protect themselves from the disease. 

An occurrence where the normal cells of the cervix turn cancerous, cervical cancer is usually caused by a chronic and persistent cancer-causing type of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection that leads to pre-malignant lesions that progress to cancer. Because the condition may take ten to thirty years to happen, there is a large window of opportunity to screen, detect, and diagnose the lesions before it becomes malignant. Visual Inspection of the cervix with Acetic Acid (VIA) and Pap smear help identify these lesions.  
But more than detection, prevention is also possible – using a relevant and effective vaccine that specifically targets the cause of cervical cancer, which is HPV, particularly types 16 and 18. 

Cervical Cancer Fact Sheet 
Cervical Cancer by the Numbers

  • 2   Cervical Cancer is the second biggest cause of female mortality globally
  • 510, 000  World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimate of new cervical cancer cases annually worldwide
  • 288, 000  yearly deaths around the world because of cervical cancer, according to WHO
  • 80  percent of cervical cancer cases found in developing countries in the world
  • 245, 000 estimated number of new cervical cancer cases found in Asia every year 
      • 7, 277  estimated new cervical cancer cases every year in the Philippines according to survey done in Rizal, Cebu, and Davao by Department of Health (DOH)
      • 12 estimated number of deaths (daily) in the Philippines due to cervical cancer
      • 35 the age to start getting a Pap smear for women who have not engaged in vaginal intercourse
      • 200 number of Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV) acknowledged to exist
      • 15 number of HPV types said to be high-risk (cancer-causing)
      • 16 & 18 HPV types which cause 70% of cervical cancer cases
      • 45 3rd most common cancer-causing HPV types which is prevalent among Filipinas

The clock is ticking. But with regular screening, cervical cancer vaccination and a healthy lifestyle, women can save themselves from cervical cancer before it’s too late. The next one could be someone you know. Could be your mother, daughter, grandmother, relative, or anyone close to you.
A public service announcement by GlaxoSmithKline(GSK)
GSK supports the advocacy to promote the welfare of women in prevention of cervical cancer.

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