The event was held at One Fullerton at Lady M Confections where we were treated some delicacies before the talk starts.
First, we have A/Professor Anne Goh, President of Singapore Pediatric Society, to do the opening speech, sharing how efforts over the past few years to raise awareness about cervical cancer have helped the rates of Cervical Cancer to drop. Yet, Cervical Cancer remains to be one of the top 10 cancer among Singapore's women. Hence, there is a need to dispell the myths that most people had, to better educate and prevent cervical cancer.
Next, Professor Tay Sun Kui, Senior Consultant of Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, SGH, help to clear some myths about Cervical Cancer.
Many believed that Cervical Cancer is not common, the truth is, Cervical Cancer will be the 2nd most common cancer affecting women had there not been any prevention programs. Globally 500,000 women are diagnosed each year.
It is caused by a common virus - Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), which is transmitted through Skin-to-skin contact, be it sexually (sexual intercourse or contact at genital area) or not (mother to infant during delivery).
Pap Smears and HPV vaccination (3-dose course) play different roles in prevention of Cervical Cancer, the former detects changes in your cervix cells which may develop into cancer while the latter helps to prevent certain HPV infection and reduce the risk of developing cervical pre-cancers and Cervical Cancer,
While the best time to vaccinate is prior to sexual debut, it is proven in clinical trials that the vacine is efffective in protecting women who were already sexually active.
There is better immunogenicity to vaccine young, HPV vaccination has been included in Singapore's National Childhood Immunization Program for aged between 9 and 26 years old, not compulsory though. The goal of vaccinating adolescents is to reduce the risk of cervical cancer not to encourage sex promiscuity.
The vaccination will not impact the onset of the menstrual cycle nor interfere with adolsecent development, therefore there's no need to wait for your daughter menses before vaccination. The main side effects are: injection site pain and redness, low grade fever and fatigue.
Next, Dr. Chia Yin Nin, Senior Consultant Gynaecologist, KK Women's and Children's Hospital who has been into 15 years of Gynaecology practice, shared how she has seen patients from all walks of life coming to her in different cancer stages.
Most of us would have thought that a commercial sex worker will have a higher risk in contracting this dreadful cancer by prostitution, but in fact, they were the ones least susceptible to cervical cancer, as they go for a Pap Smear screening once every 6 months to obtain a license to practice sexual relations.
No family history of Cervical Cancer does not mean you are safe from it. In fact, most women who contracted Cervical Cancer had no family history of it. Per Dr. Chia’s experience, the high risk group actually belongs to regular house wives whom believe that they will never get into contact with this disease and never get into any prevention program.
Dr.Chia shared about her youngest patient, passed away from Cervical Cancer at the age of 27 after first diagnosed at the age of 25. It was heart wrenching to see her departure, leaving behind 3 young kids and an 18-month old baby. After this, she is more affirmed that she needs to be more aggressive in creating awareness through public education to preventing Cervical Cancer.
Bear in mind that Cervical Cancer has no signs or symptoms. A Pap smear screening helps to detect any changes in cervical cells but is NOT ENOUGH to protect one from CERVICAL CANCER. All women aged 25 to 69 years-old who have intercourse are advised to have Pap smear screeening once every 3 years.
If you are concerned with the high cost of HPV Vaccination, you can dispense the worries, as now, you can use up to $400 per Medisave account per year under the Medisave400 scheme to pay for HPV vaccination, read more here.
Free Pap smear screening is now offered by Bishan clinic, call 6499 9133 to make your appointment NOW!
Sharing is Caring,
remember to spread the words to your lady friends around...
Disclaimer: “Protect to Tell – Cervical Cancer Awareness” on 12th April 2014 Sat (the “Event”) was held as a lunch session, organised and sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline Pte Ltd. I was not paid for participating in the Event. All personal views expressed here are entirely my own.