Cervical cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer but despite this, it still ranks as one of the leading causes of death among Filipino women today. According to the Department of Health (DOH), while the number of cases of cervical cancer is decreasing in developed countries like the United States, it is on the rise in the Philippines.
Cervical cancer is commonly caused by the Human Papillomavirus. The HPV 16 and 18 viruses are commonly associated with the prevalence of cervical cancer among Filipino women. Risky sexual practices, sexual intercourse at young ages, use of injectable contraceptives and even smoking are identified as the reasons for the development of this disease.
“It is alarming that despite the availability of this the Pap Smear Test, many women are still not getting it as regularly as they should,” said Carmie De Leon, vice president for sales and marketing of Healthway Medical.
In observance of Women’s Month, Healthway Medical, the country’s most trusted and leading mall-based clinic, is one with the government in enjoining women to combat cervical cancer by making the public aware of the need to undergo Pap Smear Test.
She also adds that women should not be embarrassed to undergo the test insisting that the Pap Smear Test is relatively simple and poses no great discomfort.
Doctors advise that women 22 years old and above should undergo pap smear every year or once every three years, particularly when results are negative for three consecutive years. This ensures that the cancer is detected early while it is still treatable.
In another study done by the ICO Information Center on HPV and Cancer, 30.3M women in the Philippines ages 15 and above are at risk of developing cervical cancer. It is the 2nd most frequent cancer among women in the Philippines and is the 2nd most frequent cancer among women between the ages of 15 and 44 years of age.
De Leon added: “It is also important to get vaccinated against the Human Papillomavirus while early even if you are not at-risk.”