The City Health Office (CHO) encourages Dabawenyo women to avail of free cervical cancer screening at the city’s district health centers amid the rising mortality rate due to the disease.

CHO non-communicable disease program manager Chona Dazon, during the ISpeak Media Forum held Thursday, May 4, at the City Hall conference room, said that the city’s cervical cancer mortality rate rose from 1.62 in the first quarter of this year compared to 1.38 in the same period in 2022.

She said 19 women from the 40 to 44 age bracket have died as of March 2023.

“Cervical cancer is treatable and curable if it’s diagnosed early and early treatment is provided,” Dazon said. That’s why she encouraged women to care for their health no matter how busy their lives become.

She also said some women are either hesitant for a check-up or they fear knowing anything about their health condition.

She said women as young as 25 can get their cervical cancer screening.

In district health centers, cervical cancer screening is done through visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA).

VIA involves the application of a white vinegar dilution to the cervix, allowing healthcare providers to identify abnormalities. When exposed to vinegar, any abnormalities on the cervix turn white. This screening method is particularly beneficial in areas with limited access to medical services.

“Kung merong reaction, duon na namin ire-refer sa mga specialists like gynecologists ang suspected cervical cancer (If there is a reaction, we will refer the VIA result to specialists like gynecologists),” Dazon added.

In private hospitals or clinics, however, a pap smear is conducted to detect cervical cancer.

The CHO intensifies its cervical cancer awareness campaign by holding symposiums in schools and barangays. The health office also provides free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine for aged nine to 14 years old. But Dazon said parents seem to be hesitant to get their children immunized due to the Dengvaxia vaccine scare.

HPV immunization also dropped since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dazon cited early sexual activity and having multiple sex partners as risk factors for cervical cancer. CIO