MANILA – A total of 58 DOH-accredited hospitals nationwide will be offering women 21 years old and above free cervical cancer screening for the whole month of May, according to the Department of Health (DOH) on Wednesday.
During the launch of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month (CCAM), doctors at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center (JRMMC) announced that this year, the DOH will pay attention to preventing the main cause of cervical cancer which was the human papillomavirus (HPV).
For both men and women, HPV was the most common sexually transmitted infection and also the main reason why cervical cancer exists.
Consultant of JRMMC, Dr. Rey delos Reyes, who was also former president of Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS) said that screening is the easiest way to detect cervical cancer in its early stage and would later save a patient from spending further on expenses.
DOH screening schedules around the country are as follows: Metro Manila is scheduled every Wednesday; Luzon every Friday; Visayas every Tuesday; and Mindanao every Thursday.
Those who wish to avail of free screening can coordinate with the ob-gyne department of hospitals. For more information, the following DOH telephone numbers can be reached: 651-7800 locals 1751 and 1752.
Delos Reyes also mentioned that the use of condoms can minimize the risk of cervical cancer but it cannot totally protect from infection. HPV can be found at the base of the penis, and can still be transmitted.
“Symptoms of early cervical cancer may not always show but in its advanced stage cancer symptoms include external genital warts, bleeding, and the most common of it all, itching,” Delos Reyes said.
“Treatment can be either surgery or a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy,” he added. “In its early stage, this is where it can be cured. But if it is in its late stage, chemo-radioation is used.”
On the other hand, Delos Reyes said that cryotherapy (medical treatment that involves cooling the body, especially by freezing) is used when an HPV is not cancer yet. It is called premalignant lesion or precancerous lesion.
While free screening will be offered, Delos Reyes said that only patients who are members of the PhilHealth Z Benefit Package program can avail of free vaccination or treatment in its early stage.
He further explained that the benefits of getting screened early to avoid the spread of HPV.
HPV can lead to other types of diseases aside from cervical cancer. These are cancers in the vulva, vagina, anus, penis, head and neck, as well as genital warts. –Philippines News Agency