Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

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Cervical Cancer Awareness Month is a campaign held every May to raise public awareness on the prevention, early detection, and control of cervical cancer in the Philippines.

Contents

Background

The Department of Health (DOH) celebrates the said campaign yearly since the promulgation of Proclamation No. 368 which declares the month of May every year as “Cervical Cancer Awareness Month”.

In 2005, DOH emphasized the importance of screening through the establishment of the Cervical Cancer Screening Program through the issuance of DOH Administrative Order No. 2005-2006. It adopted visual inspection with acetic acid wash (VIA) as the screening method of choice for cervical cancer in the country. It shall be established at rural health units, district hospitals, and provincial hospitals with no pap smear capability.

Pap smear is the most reliable, most effective and widely accepted and used for over 50 years. It also helped reduce the incidence of cervical cancer. For areas where access to Pap smear is difficult, VIA is an alternative test. It only requires the simple household cane vinegar.

In May 2008, the Department of Health (DOH), in cooperation with Cancer Institute Foundation, Inc., Cervicak Cancer Prevention Network Program, and Merck Sharp & Dohme Philippines, launched the Cervical Cancer Awareness and Prevention Month with the theme: Babae, Mahalaga Ka.

The DOH reported that next to breast cancer, cervical cancer is the second leading cause of death among women, half of them aged 35 to 55 years old. It is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), a common virus that affects both men and women. Some types result in abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix, which could turn into cancer. [1]

In 2009, Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates recorded that 12 women die of cervical cancer every day, while around five out of 10 women suffering from the cancer may die within five years. In a year, around 6,000 cases of and 4,349 deaths due to cervical cancer are documented.

Other possible causes of the cancer include:

  • Disorders that weaken the immune system like HIV/AIDS
  • Intercourse at an early age
  • Failure to receive regular pap smear screening
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Having a sexual partner infected with Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Smoking


Prevention

To prevent women from developing cancer, screening must be done together with promotion of healthy lifestyle practices such as:

  • Being monogamous
  • Delaying sex on early age
  • Not smoking
  • Proper diet and nutrition
  • Vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). It must be noted that HPV vaccination is not a substitute for the routine cervical cancer screening using VIA or Pap Smear Test.

Detection

Since cancer of the cervix has no definite symptom, health experts advise women to have a regular pap smear and undergo vaccination, one shot for two consecutive months and the third after six months. [2]

Once in its advanced stage, afflicted women may experience the following:

  • Unpleasant vaginal discharge
  • Pain during and bleeding after intercourse
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding from the rectum
  • Anemia
  • Pelvic, leg, and back pain
  • Urinary problems
  • Weight loss

Activities

In line with the celebration of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, DOH conducts seminars, open forums, support activities, and free cervical screening in selected hospitals. The following hospitals participated in the project:

References

  1. ^ "May is cervix cancer awareness month," Philippine Information Agency (accessed 19 March 2010)
  2. ^ "Cervical Cancer Awareness Month," GlitchLine (accessed 19 March 2010)


External link



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