Angeles City

Angeles City provides free cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests for women

Joann Manabat

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Angeles City provides free cervical cancer screenings, HIV tests for women

SCREENING. More than 1,800 poor women in Angeles City and 200 females deprived of liberty benefit from free breast and cervical cancer screenings, and HIV testing under a city government program.

Angeles City information office

Cervical cancer ranks as the Philippines' second most frequent cancer among women from 15 to 44 years old, but screening rates in the country are low

MABALACAT CITY — Nearly 2,000 women in Angeles City received free cervical cancer screenings and breast examinations in March as part of its National Women’s Month celebration.

A total of 1,650 indigent women ages 35 to 49 years old from 33 villages underwent free pap smears and breast examinations. 

At the Angeles District Jail Female Dormitory  221 persons deprived of liberty (PDLs) also received a free Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test.

Women should have regular cervical cancer screening, according to Obstetrician-Gynecologist Dr. Rowie Medina, the founder of Women’s Health Advocates Group.

Screening via pap smear offers the best chance for early detection and successful treatment, she added.

The Angeles City Information Office said the target beneficiaries came from the poorest of poor families.

City records show that 39 deaths in this sector since 2020 were caused by cervical cancer.

The city government deployed mobile bus clinics to bring medical services to the barangays and the female PDL dormitory.

Cervical cancer ranks as the Philippines’ second most frequent cancer among women in the 15 to 44 age group.

Around 39.6 million women in the Philippines aged 15 years and older are at risk of developing cervical cancer.

The HPV Information Center said 7,897 women in this age group are diagnosed yearly with cervical cancer. Of these, 4,052 die from the disease.

But screening rates in the country are low, Medina told Rappler in an interview on March 17. Many Filipino women do not know about the importance of cervical cancer screenings.

Screening, vaccination

A World Health Organization 2021 report said that fewer than one in 10 women in the Philippines took screening for cervical cancer in the last five years. 

The HPV information center estimates that 2.9% of women in the general population harbor cervical HPV-16/18 infection at any given time. Data link HPV 16 and 18 to 58.6% of invasive cervical cancers.

“We have a very high rate compared to other countries and the cervical screenings remain low,” said Medina. “It is upsetting because cervical cancer can be prevented by early detection.”

“We have a lot of patients that we have screened and detected at the pre-cancer stage. With proper treatment, we have prevented cervical cancer,” the doctor pointed out.

“We have started a national or government vaccination policy for HPV infection. It’s a little late but at least, we started already,” she added.

Mayor Carmelo Lazatin Jr. donated P50,000 to support the medical services of the PDLs. An additional P30,000 was provided by chief adviser IC Calaguas and executive assistant IV Reina Manuel. –

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