It wasn’t till a couple of weeks ago that I seriously read up more about cervical cancer and its vaccine.
In a casual conversation with one of my friends, I found out that she had three friends who had cervical cancer, and one of them – her bestie, a young woman in her 20s who had just walked down the aisle with the man of her dreams not so long ago – had succumbed to the cancer less than two months ago. My friend urged me to be vaccinated as soon as I could, and to let my little darling take the vaccine when she is of age.
The POCC (Power Over Cervical Cancer) campaign couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
I had forgotten totally about this available vaccine – it’s the only cancer which you can be vaccinated against.
Cervical cancer takes the life of 1 woman in every 5 days in Singapore and is the 2nd most common women’s cancer worldwide.* It could take years to develop, and you don’t need any family history of it to be at risk. The scariest part about cervical cancer is that it may not present any symptoms in the early stages and hence when one discovers it, it may well be too late, as in my friends’ bestie’s case.
The vaccination against cervical cancer was introduced in 2006 and it was believed to be able to prevent the two most common strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) which are thought to cause about 70% of cases of the potentially fatal disease. Just in an online report yesterday, it has been reported that the jab may actually protect against other strains, possibly up to 77% of cervical cancer cases.
The vaccination is available for females between 9-26 years of age and requires 3 doses of the vaccine given in a period of 6 months. However, even if you are vaccinated against cervical cancer, it doesn’t mean that you’re completely safe from the clutches of cervical cancer and it is still wise to get a pap smear test done every 1-3 years as the vaccine doesn’t protect you against all strains of HPV.
Well anyway, I must look really young for my friend to forget that I no longer qualify to take the vaccine as I don’t fall into that age group anymore!
While I personally can’t take the vaccine now, I will dutifully get my pap smear test done soon (the first and last time I did it was 6 weeks after giving birth!) and hope that the vaccine available in future will be able to protect women against more strains of HPV.
It helps too, of course, to spread the word so that more women are aware of cervical cancer.
After all, empowerment begins with knowledge.
Power Over Cervical Cancer is a campaign that aims to make Singapore the country with the lowest incidence of Cervical Cancer and they need your help to spread the word. Pledge your support for this cause and protect those you care about by telling them about Cervical Cancer. Together, we have POWER Over Cervical Cancer.