Spotlight on cervical cancer
MANILA, Philippines - Doctors say prevention is always better than a cure. Especially for cervical cancer.
Devon Wong reports.
Cancer isn’t a subject that most people want to talk about. But doctors say it’s buzz that will encourage cancer prevention before treatment.
Cervical cancer is the second highest form of cancer for women in the Philippines. Many women carrying the disease aren’t diagnosed until they’re in the advanced stages.
Everyday, 12 women die of cervical cancer in the Philippines. It’s been called a “silent killer”. Advocates believe the time is now for women to screen themselves as early as possible, before symptoms show.
ABBY ARENAS, BRAVEHEARTS COALITION: Filipina mothers are known to be martyrs in life. They’d rather do everything and anything for their loved ones. But this is actually a time to love ourselves.
Cervical cancer is commonly caused by the infection of HPV, or human papillomavirus. But it’s also one of the most preventable forms of cancer-- with HPV vaccines available in the market. But doctors fear that it’s the price point that puts most women off.
CARRIE PACHECO-PURUGGANAN, DOCTOR: The price is definitely one of the barriers. It’s premium priced. But if you educate people enough we’re trying to mobilize and lobby so that there can be some sort of funding from the government or partnership with local government units to make this more accessible to women.
Doctors believe that the social stigma of HPV as a sexually transmitted disease also plays a role in low pre screening rates.
CARRIE PACHECO-PURUGGANAN, DOCTOR: We try to educate people that human papillomavirus is very common.
So anybody can get it. Even if you’re monogamous, you’re single, you’re a family woman, you‘re in a stable relationship, that’s really not a guarantee that you’re not going to get infected.
The answer to HPV may already be available. But it doesn’t do much if women aren’t ready to ask questions.
It may not be a glamorous topic, but these doctors hope that HPV screening becomes a more attractive idea to women.
Devon Wong, Rappler, Subic