DOH targets 73.6-K women in W. Visayas for cervical cancer screening

Posted by watchmen
May 13, 2024


The Department of Health Western Visayas Center for Health Development (DOH-WVCHD) is intensifying its campaign on cervical cancer elimination targeting 73,628 women 30 to 65 years old for screening in the next eight weeks.

Dr. Aimee Marie L. Gayomali, medical officer IV and head of the DOH-WVCHD integrated non-communicable disease prevention and control program, said they tapped provincial and city health offices, local government units, hospitals, and the Philippine Obstetrics and Gynecological Society for the broadened campaign.

“Our cervical screenings are already and will be available in all rural health units. Either they choose for visual inspection using acetic acid or pap smear, which are readily available,” said Gayomali in a press conference last May 9.

The screening targets 5,676 women in Aklan, 5448 in Antique, 7,507 in Capiz, 1,775 in Guimaras, 19,204 in Iloilo, and 4,596 in Iloilo City.

A pap smear should be done three years after the first sexual intercourse, but not earlier than 21 years old, and must be done every year for three years.

For unmarried women who haven’t engaged in sexual activity, a pap smear should be done at age 35, Gayomali added.

The visual inspection using acetic acid is an alternative to a pap smear.

Dr. Arnold Liwag, Western Visayas Medical Center (WVMC) point person for the Scale Up Cervical Cancer Elimination with Secondary Prevention Strategy (SUCCESS), said the program offers deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA)-based test for human papillomavirus (HPV) testing, a self-test recommended by World Health Organization.

“She will just be given instructions on how to get samples from the vagina and will just submit to us the vial containing the sample. And it is run through a machine to detect if she has HPV virus because cervical cancer is caused by the virus more than 90 percent of the time,” he said in the same press conference.

The test, however, is only available in laboratories of the WVMC and the West Visayas State University Medical Center (WVSUMC), but they hope to have it rolled out for public consumption.

He added that the WVMC records two to three new cases of cervical cancer monthly, but they have ongoing treatment for cervical cancer of around 15 cases per month.

“There is no regionwide or nationwide cancer registry that can be easily accessed for a better idea of the number of cases we are managing or encountering. Take note that the recommendation right now for cervical cancer screening is gathered from other countries, not necessarily our local data,” he said.

He added that this year’s campaign emphasizes counseling, screening, and treatment, unlike before when there was less emphasis on counseling and more on screening.

The massive cervical cancer screening will run until July this year. (PNA)


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