BAGUIO CITY– A high rate of survival for cervical cancer patients is expected if detection is done during the earliest stages, it was known from Medical Specialist Dr. Jimmy Billod in a health kapihan at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center (BGHMC) last week.
Dr. Billod, from the BGHMC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology said malignant cervical cancer along with breast and lung cancer is one of the top three causes of mortality, but is preventable and curable.
In 2015, 50 new cases were listed and in 2016, there were 60 new cases; with 10 to 15 patients seen at the BGHMC every week. Seventy-five percent of BGHMC’s cervical cancer patients are from the neighboring provinces, with a portion from the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Billod said, most of them 30 to 45 years old.
A part of the female reproductive system, the cervix is the “collar” or “neck” of the uterus which is accessible to infection which may result to cancers. Ladies, at 18 years of age could submit themselves to screening, later to Pap smear and regular check-up, or even avail of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine to protect their health, Billod added. DNA testing every five years could be done, except for its prohibitive cost, Billod said.
Billod also debunked beliefs that cervical cancer is hereditary; as 99% is due to the Human Papilloma Virus, which could be contracted with people having the illness, through sexual contact.
The practice of safe sex, having the HPV vaccine, healthy lifestyle, no excessive vices, and regular check-up would lessen the risk of having cervical cancer, it was known. Abnormal bleeding, spotting or discharges, low back or pelvic pain, or edema would merit a visit to the doctor for Pap smear or screening, Billod further said.
Billod is joined by several medical practitioners from the Department of Health, BGHMC during the health Kapihan at the DOH Secretary’s cottage, where cervical cancer, hypertension, world no tobacco month, Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Epidemiology updates along with road safety concerns were discussed.
May is cervical cancer consciousness month, it was known.
In addition, early warning signs such as change in bowel or bladder habits, a sore which does not heal, unusual bleeding or discharge, thickening or lump in the breast or any part of the body, indigestion or difficulty in swallowing, obvious change in wart of mole, nagging hoarseness or cough, unexplained anemia and sudden weight loss; would warrant a visit to the doctor, the medical practitioners cautioned. /Julie G. Fianza