The Big C is so dreaded, and it’s very apparent that no one wants to put himself to the ‘dead end’ and be diagnosed with it. Everytime I see someone, either a relative, friend, acquaintance or even a stranger suffering with cancer, the thought about life being so short and that it can easily be taken away from us at a snap of a finger bothers me. My heart goes out to them who have suffered and died from this dreaded disease, but sometimes it leaves me helpless as well, knowing that at most times, cancers are incurable.
It brings the fear that I ,too or any of my family members might have it. I am afraid but admittedly, I feel I haven’t really taken a concrete action to prevent it and know more about it as well. Yes, I am trying hard to have a healthy lifestyle but it is almost impossible to embrace it all the time, given the limitations.
All these thought came over me after I attended a forum about cervical cancer awareness earlier this week. I learned that aside from breast cancer, cervical cancer holds the Top 2 spot as the killer disease for women in the Philippines and 7th for both men and women. Specifically, 12 Filipinas die each day. In a global point of view, statistics show that a woman dies of it every two minutes. Isn’t that alarming? I never expected that cervical cancer would be on top of the list, or maybe I am just not informed.
All women regardless of age, lifestyle or status in life is at risk of cervical cancer because HPV (or Human papillomavirus), the virus behind this disease can be transmitted not just by engaging in sexual intercourse. A mere skin to skin contact of genital area without penile penetration can transmit this common virus.
For now, it helps to know that we can prevent this disease by getting a Pap Smear screening and more effectively, by vaccination. These two ways are by far a woman’s best defense against this killer disease.Yes, this is the only second type of cancer which has a vaccine for prevention (the other one is hepatitis B vaccine, for liver cancer). Getting vaccinated can lower the risk of developing cervical cancer by 94%. The cervical cancer vaccine requires 3 doses (0, 1, 6 months) For example, if you had your first dose today, May 31, your second dose will be on June 30 and the third will be on November 30.
For more information, make it a priority to schedule a consultation with your Ob-Gynecologist. And that’s what I’m going to do come June! How about you, have you taken your vaccine shots already?
The cervical cancer awareness forum was made possible by Bravehearts Philippines and Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS).
Bravehearts is a non-profit organization dedicated to raise awareness on cervical cancer prevention thru education, screening and vaccination. With the vision of having a cervical cancer-free Philippines, it has expanded its support base to touch more lives which includes prominent personalities such as Abbygale Arenas-de Leon and a lot more.