MANILA – At least 12 Filipino women die daily from cervical cancer, which is the second most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years old, the Department of Health (DOH) said Wednesday.
Department of Health (DOH)-Metro Manila Center for Health Development Assistant Regional Director Aleli Annie Grace Sudiacal noted that cervical cancer, or the cancer affecting the lower and narrow end of the uterus, is caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) which is acquired during unprotected sexual intercourse.
Women are at risk of having cervical cancer if they have recurring HPV infection, she said.
"May mga datos rin po na nagsasabi 'yung mga nagka-cervical cancer, nung tiningnan nila ang history, 'yun 'yung mga maaga nakipag-sex o maraming sexual partners (There are also data stating that those who have had cervical cancer, if you look at their history, they are the ones who had early sex life and or had multiple sexual partners)," she said during an information caravan in Las Piñas City.
Getting pregnant four times or more, having a weak immune system, smoking, and inhaling second-hand smoke are other causes of cervical cancer.
Data from the HPV Information Centre show that the Philippines has a population of 39.6 million women 15 years old and above who are at risk of developing cervical cancer.
Current estimates indicate that about 7,897 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,052 die from the disease annually.
Cervical cancer ranks as the second most frequent cancer among women nationwide, next to breast cancer. It is also the second most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years old, Sudiacal said.
Women could be screened for cervical cancer through visual inspection with acetic (VIA) acid and pap smear.
"'Yung pap smear medyo may kamahalan, puwedeng naman ang VIA na ginagawa sa ating mga health center (Pap smear is quite pricey, the VIA done in health centers would do)," she said.
The DOH targets to screen women 20 years old and above to be screened for cervical cancer, she said. (PNA)