Let’s not talk about food for a moment and talk about cancer. I know this has completely nothing to do with my blog’s theme but when I was approached to support the POCC (Power Over Cervical Cancer) campaign, I did not hesitate and agreed.
As a son (to a mother), a brother (to a sister), a friend and also a future husband to my future wife, I don’t think this is something that should not only concern women. It is everyone’s responsibility.
So just a brief info first, POCC is initiated by the National Cancer of Society of Malaysia and is supported by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). The ultimate objective of this campaign to educate and sustain awareness on cervical cancer.
The nationwide ‘Fight Cervical Cancer in Style Best Friends Forever (BFF) Campaign’ encourages everyone to reach out to their best friends – women they care about – to spread the message of protection and reduce their risk of cervical cancer. At the enhanced POCC website and Facebook Page photo pledges and sharing of stories can be made, as initiatives for Malaysians to come together to fight this cancer.
Nothing speaks louder than facts and figures, so here are some for your understanding:
- Cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancer among women in this region. In Malaysia, it is the 3rd most common among Malaysian females.
- An estimated 500,000 cervical cancer cases are reported each year, with 80% in developing countries (like Malaysia)
- More than 270,000 deaths occur from cervical cancer each year globally.
- In developing countries like Malaysia, only 41% of women get the necessary treatment they need to survive.
- Among Malaysia’s major ethnic groups, Chinese experienced the highest incidence rate, followed by Indians and Malays respectively.
- In Malaysia, one out of 28 Chinese women is exposed to cervical cancer risks; for Indians it is one out of 34, and for Malays one out of 80.
- Cervical cancer affects women in the prime of their lives, often when they are working and also responsible for their children and family.
Cervical cancer is a cancer that affects women of different ages and backgrounds across the world. It is caused by persistent infection with a very common and contagious virus called HPV (human papillomavirus) Currently, a vaccine targeting HPV 16 and HPV 18 can be potential to prevent up to 70% of cervical cancers. So even if you are vaccinated it doesn’t mean you are 100% safe as there are 15 cancer causing HPV types.
Although what I have mentioned above sound really grim, the good news is that cervical cancer is a cancer that could be avoided if regular screening is done. Compared to women who do are not regularly screened, the risk of developing cervical cancer is approximately 5 times higher! This is just how important it is for women to get a pap smear test done on an annual basis. If diagnosed early, the chance of survival is very very optimistic.
Adjusting your lifestyle for the better helps to reduce the possibility of developing cervical cancer too, like stop smoking. The other contributing factors are
- A young age at first sexual experience
- High number of pregnancies
- Long-term use of oral contraceptives, and
- Other sexually transmitted infections
A regular pap smear test wouldn’t cost more than RM30 and to think that such a small amount could be used to save and protect the special women you hold close to your heart, may it be your wife, sister, girlfriend or even just a female friend, it’s totally worth it.
So, the bottom line is, if you are a lady, get a screening if you haven’t. If you are a man, do what you need to protect your lady, be supportive and accompany her for a screening. OK? For more info visit POCC’s website and NCSM’s website.