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Every day, cervical cancer kills 12 Filipino women. To think, the deaths could have been avoided and prevented. As a matter of fact, there is now a vaccine available against the disease. More important, cervical cancer can be cured-if detected early!

Cervical cancer is women’s enemy No. 2. “In the Philippines, cervical cancer remains as the second-most common cancer affecting women after breast cancer. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in women,” said Dr. Salvador Villanueva, a fellow of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of the Philippine and the Philippine Society for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy.

While cervical cancer incidence and deaths have been on the decline in highly industrialized countries like the United States and those in Europe, the incidence of cervical cancer in the Philippines, on the other hand, remains high.

Between breast cancer and cervical cancer, the latter is deadlier. In her Inquirer column, Rina Jimenez-David, a recognized advocate in reproductive health, explained it this way: “While breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women in the country, it is not the most deadly. The death toll from cervical cancer is higher than for breast cancer, and this is mainly because by the time its victims come for treatment, it is already too late.”

The cervix is the lower part of the uterus. It extends into the vagina. Cervical cancer, which results from the uncontrolled growth of severely abnormal cells in the cervix, usually affects women aged 35 to 55, but it can affect women as young as 20.

According to Villanueva, one of the reasons cervical cancer remains high in the Philippines is because of the many misconceptions about the disease that only a few Filipino women undergo regular screening with Pap smear and HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccination, two of the most proven ways to prevent cervical cancer.

In an article he wrote for Health and Lifestyle, a monthly publication for health professionals, Villanueva tries to segregate the myths from the facts about cervical cancer:

Myth: Cervical cancer is caused by genetic factors, just like the other cancers.
Fact: Cervical cancer is caused by infection with the HPV, which is easily passed during sexual contact or even through genital skin to skin contact, without penetrative sex. In fact, 99.7 percent of women with cervical cancer are positive for HPV. Condoms may reduce the risk but are not fully protective.
Myth: Cervical cancer affects only those women with multiple sexual partners.
Fact: Every two minutes, a woman dies because of cervical cancer. In the Philippines, incidence starts rising at the age of 35, affecting Filipinas when they are still very productive, maybe just started their families, while their children are still young or at the peak of their careers.

Women with multiple partners is just one of the risk factors. Other risk factors include: women who have a partner with multiple partners (regardless if past or present), previous history of HPV or sexually transmitted infections, smoking, early sexual activity, women …read more

Source:: Daily times


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Cervical cancer: second-most common cancer among women

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