HPV-free Philippines: Gov't takes steps to combat cervical cancer

Shara Mae Balce
PUBLISHED June 7, 2018 09:34 am | UPDATED June 7, 2018 04:29 pm

(Inside Manila) One of the greatest gifts in the world a parent could ever have is a child. However, losing the one who is capable of giving birth to a new life is one of the saddest things we can imagine.


More and more women are dying of cancer. In fact, according to a report from the Department of Health (DOH), almost half a million Filipino women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, which remains the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the country next to breast cancer.


As part of the Cervical Cancer Consciousness Month, the Cervical Cancer Prevention Program in the Philippines (CECAP), in partnership with the DOH, held its annual HPV Summit on May 31 in Manila Diamond Hotel to discuss about the country’s next step to create a human papillomavirus (HPV)-free Philippines.



Dr. Christia Padolina representing the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS) shared the important keys in preventing cervical cancer. Photo by Shara Balce/Inside Manila


 



Dr. Cecilia Llave, Director of Cervical Cancer Prevention Program in the Philippines (CECAP), led the panel discussion on early screenings and treatments to curb cervical cancer. Photo by Shara Balce/Inside Manila


HPV is a group of related viruses that can cause warts to different parts of the body, affecting both males and females. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to other malignancies or worst, cancer.


The DOH reported that about 90% of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV with an estimated 6,670 women diagnosed of the disease every year and 2,832 related deaths. To eliminate such related diseases, the government said it is gearing up for the strong steps towards an HPV-free Philippines through promotional activities on awareness and prevention including vaccination, early screening and treatment.


During the forum, DOH Cancer Program Manager Dr. Clarito Cairo Jr. pointed out that prevention and early treatment are highly cost-effective tools in combating HPV. For him, the key is having coordinated actions from the government in a bid to provide amplified treatment and screening facilities, and to make sure that young women receive the right vaccination,.


From prevention to treatment, such initiatives against HPV and cervical cancer have been strengthened backed by such programs that provide variety of care including the DOH’s Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), the Philippine Cancer Prevention and Control Program, and the Cancer Coalition Philippines’ proposed support to the National Integrated Cancer Control Act - a bill that ensures funding and continuing implementation of programs for vaccine preventable cancers.

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