by SDG for Disease Prevention Bogs Rivera MD and Phenomenal Leader President Henry Villa
The World Has Committed To Eliminating Cervical Cancer: A Call To Action.
Among the cancers known to man, ONLY Cervical Cancer can be eliminated. The World Health Organization issued a GLOBAL call to action in May 2018 to eliminate Cervical Cancer underscoring POLITICAL WILL to make elimination a reality.
The How and Can it be done?
To set countries on the path toward elimination, the World Health Assembly adopted the Global Strategy for cervical cancer elimination, where each country needs to meet the 90-70-90 targets by 2030 where:
- Vaccination: 90% of girls are fully vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by the age of 15;
- Screening: 70% of women were screened using a high-performance test by the age of 35, and again by the age of 45;
- Treatment: 90% of women with pre-cancer were treated and 90% of women with invasive cancer were managed.
Australia will be the first country in the world set to eliminate cervical cancer by 2035.
Where We Stand.
Cervical Cancer in the Philippines is the second leading cause of cancer in women after breast. About 11 Filipina lose their lives to cervical cancer each day.
Based on the latest WHO report on the Philippine Cervical Cancer Profile, our HPV vaccination coverage is at 5% (WHO GOAL: 90%) and cervical screening coverage is at 1% (WHO GOAL: 70%).
The failure to control cervical cancer in the Philippines is multifactorial in nature. The lack of cervical health awareness and the lack of screening facilities, doctors/experts, immunization program coverage, and treatment facilities, especially in rural areas are some of the causes of failure.
HPV vaccination is part of the National Health Immunization Program, yet so few get the vaccine. A result of the lack of awareness even among those who are able to buy the vaccine.
Awareness campaigns are essential. However, without enough doctors to screen 17.5 million women every three to five years (representing 70% of the total population of women aged 25 to 65 years old), cervical cancer elimination is impossible to achieve.
To help boost cervical screening in the community, the Rotary Club of Manila South and CerviQ conducts cervical health awareness followed by cervical screening aided by technology. We use a colposcope coupled with artificial intelligence that can detect cervical precancers with high accuracy. Cervical screening is done using the VIA approach and is delivered by midwives. Using the colposcope, midwives take a photo of the cervix and send it over the internet for artificial intelligence evaluation. Initial results come back in 5 minutes. Images are then sent over the internet to a specialized OB where final results are delivered, printed, or sent to the patient via email, or on social media platforms.
Recently, the Rotary Club of Manila South, CerviQ, Brgy. BF Homes led by Brgy Kagawad Cielo Lazatin, and the Sampaloc Site 2 Elementary School led by Principal Maria Cristina Balbaboco, dubbed “LIBREng Cervical Cancer Awareness & Prevention Talk/ LIBREng Screening, Interpretation of Result & Consultation” last July 20 and 21, 2022.
Present during the activity includes Hon. Vice-Mayor Joan Villafuerte, District 2 City Councilors: Hon. Nina Celine Sotto, Hon. Tin Esplana, and Hon. Atty Jet Frias, and others who gave utmost support to the said activity.
The seminar targets the education of educators (teachers) and addresses their cervical health concerns. Of the 62 women screened, eight percent (8%) had very early precancer lesions. These women are advised to undergo a repeat examination six months from today. The persistence of lesions requires treatment.
Imagine if no screening took place. Some women will develop cervical cancer in 5 to 10 years’ time. Imagine how many women we could save have we routinely screen them for cervical cancer.