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November 17, 2015

Power Over Cervical Cancer: The Power Wives

Cervical cancer is a major problem for Filipino women: it is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among Filipinas, with seven dying of the dreaded disease every single day. What’s more worrying is that 2 in 3 Filipinas diagnosed with cervical cancer may die within five years, or up to 2,832 women dying in a year. In its early stage, it may have no signs or symptoms. 

The power to protect yourself from cervical cancer is in your hands. Every woman, regardless of race, age, lifestyle or socio-economic status---is at risk. But it can be prevented. The World Health Organization recommends screening and vaccination as a form of preventive healthcare.

GSK is one of the world’s leading, research-based pharmaceutical companies with the mission to improve the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. Recently, an advocacy event dubbed as 'Power Over Cervical Cancer: The Power Wives.'
Dr. Leah Manio during the Power Over Cervical Cancer Power Wives event.

Power Over Cervical Cancer

Our culture celebrates our women as selfless and who always put their families’ interest ahead of their own. While selflessness is naturally an asset, we also want to imbibe to our beloved women the values of resilience, self-confidence and self-appreciation as we envision them to realize the fullness of their womanhood.

In this regard, leading research-based pharmaceutical company GSK continues to ramp up its cervical cancer awareness efforts with the patient—the woman—always a priority. In the Philippines, the Power Over Cervical Cancer campaign urges Filipinas to realize that they are empowered—that they can do something to prevent the disease from happening to them, so they can have the wonderful, meaningful and joyful life that they deserve. 

The Power Wives 

The key thrust of GSK’s 2015 cervical cancer awareness campaign, Power Over Cervical Cancer, revolves around empowering women when it comes to preventing cervical cancer. 

To further advance this advocacy to embrace more women across all demographics, the pioneering Power Wives will be the Seafarers’ Wives, who will undergo a program that will include sessions on personality development, image building, personal resilience, financial management and self-care.

To date, there are about 400,000 Filipino seafarers deployed who render themselves and their families at greater risk for several diseases and infections due to their working conditions. While they are striving for financial stability as their idea of a bright future, GSK wants to bring into their consciousness the value of preventive healthcare. 

Chiqui Barretto helping Suzi Entrata to gift wrap
Make Up Artist Mica Tuaño during  her demo with Host Suzi Entrata at the Power Over Cervical  Cancer, Power Wives Event

Secure the Future

On a national scale, Filipino seafarers onboard international fleets have greatly contributed to our social economic progress. Their foreign exchange remittances grow annually, notwithstanding that our seafarers comprise only 5 percent of the total OFWs working abroad. In 2014, their contributions amounted to USD5.6billion out of the USD24.3 billion dollars aggregate OFW remittances or more than 20 percent thereof. Currently, we are also ranked number 4 among the biggest shipbuilders in the world. 

Shipping clearly moves the world. The underlying truth is that Filipino seafarers play a major role in the shipping industry as a whole, with 1 out of 4 seafarers onboard international vessels being Filipinos. This means they comprise 25 percent of the total global maritime professionals in the world.

“The significance of the Philippine maritime industry transcends both the global and national arena. Undeniably, 90 percent of world trade is still reliant on international shipping. This means that almost all the food we eat, clothes we wear, the things we buy, use, own, in one way or another, were shipped onboard vessels before they got to us,” stated Capt. Ronald SJ Enrile, Senior Vice-President Maritime Management of Philippine Transmarine Corporation, the country’s biggest shipping-employment agency.

Securing the OFW families’ future is important. The future should not only mean financial stability but also health and wellness among the family members. Therefore, the need for health checkups and vaccination becomes more imperative.

Importance of early protection

Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells develop and spread in the cervix, the entrance between the vagina and the uterus. The human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common virus, is the necessary cause of cervical cancer. It has been shown that 99.7 percent of cervical cancer patients are positive for HPV infection. It is also estimated that up to 80 percent of women will be infected with HPV at some point in their lives. 

While HPV is primarily transmitted via sexual intercourse, skin-to-skin genital contact is also a recognized mode of transmission. Beyond regular consultations and pap smears by your doctor, vaccines that protect against cancer-causing HPV are also now readily available.

The incidence of cancer-causing HPV infection is actually highest at the young ages of 15-19. This is why the World Health Organization Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (WHO-SAGE) on Immunization reiterates the importance of getting young girls protected through HPV immunization before their first exposure to HPV (i.e. before sexual contact), as young as 9 years old.

Older women are just as susceptible. The risk of persistent infection with cancer-causing HPV (which is necessary for cervical cancer to develop) increases with age, and is highest when a woman is over 66 years old. Vaccination remains to be recommended for older women who did not receive it at an earlier age. However, screening continues to be encouraged among older women as a matter of precaution. 

To know more about cervical cancer, visit the Pangarap Mo, Protektado page on Youtube containing various short filmes conveying how protecting oneself against vaccine-preventable diseases is one important step in the achievement of one’s dreams.

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