DOH, UNFPA, MSD, and medical societies offer one-stop screening, treatment for cervical cancer

Three DOH-retained hospitals to get cryotherapy machines

Now on its fifth year, the free cervical cancer screening program of the Department of Health (DOH) in partnership with MSD and medical societies namely the Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS), the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of the Philippines (SGOP), and the Philippine Society for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy (PSCPC) during Cervical Cancer Awareness Month will now enable patients to get screened, be diagnosed and get treated in the same hospital.

 

This month of May, women aged 30 to 49 years old may avail of free screenings at DOH-retained hospitals nationwide. And this year, three cryotherapy machines which are used to freeze and destroy abnormal tissues in the cervix are set for turnover to three DOH Medical Centers through a grant from UNFPA. These are Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Bicol Regional Training and Teaching Hospital and Cotabato Regional Hospital. With the presence of cryotherapy machines in these hospitals, women who are screened and found positive for cervical abnormalities can now be treated immediately at the same hospital without delay or hassle of visiting another hospital with technology to remove suspicious lesions.

It is estimated that twelve Filipino women die of cervical cancer everyday, making it the second most common and deadly cancer among women in the Philippines. Around 6,000 are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year with more than half dying in five years. The human papillomavirus or HPV cause virtually 100% of all cervical cancer cases. Aside from cervical cancer, HPV may also lead to cancer of the vulva and vagina in women, cancer of the penis in men as well as anal cancer, head and neck cancers and genital warts in both men and women.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in both men and women. Because transmission is through skin-to-skin contact, abstinence from all forms of sexual activity is the best means of prevention. Primary prevention includes vaccination against HPV not only for women but also for men.

Cervical cancer may not present any symptoms until the late, deadly stages.  Since it takes years for the infection to develop into cancer, routine screening through a pap smear is an effective way of helping prevent cervical cancer. A cheaper yet effective alternative is getting screened through visual inspection with acetic acid or vinegar to detect possible precancerous lesions.

For the whole month of May, the screenings will be offered to the public in DOH-retained hospitals every Wednesday in Metro Manila, every Friday in Luzon, every Tuesday in Visayas and every Thursday in Mindanao.

For the list of DOH-retained hospitals, go to http://www2.doh.gov.ph/doh_retained_hospital.htm.

For more information on cervical cancer and other HPV diseases, visitwww.helpfightHPV.com

 

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