All the ladies out there, Do you know what is Cervical Cancer?
I was invited to this meaningful event named “Protect To Tell” on last Saturday held at Lady M, One Fullerton Branch.
Brought along my sister with me to attend the event.
The venue was filled with pink & tiffany green balloons..
Checked out the booth which displayed the tools and equipment used for Pap Smear Screening.
So What is Pap Smear Test?
A Pap smear test is a screening test to check for changes in the cells of your cervix which may develop into cancer later. It is a simple procedure where cells are collected from your cervix and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The test takes only a few minutes and can be done by a nurse or a doctor.
(Extracted from www.hpb.gov.sg/)
Before the talk starts, we get to try out Lady M Cakes!
My choice (left): Gâteau aux Marrons – Delicate with a fine crumb, two layers of almond flour cake hug a soft whipped cream center. Crosshatch pipings of chestnut-infused cream, lush and true to flavor, graces the entire surface of the gâteau. For an elegant finish, roasted walnuts and snow sugar.
My sis’s choice (right): Checkers – Striking black and white in appearance, our popular Checkers Cake weaves together a precise and tender checkerboard of vanilla and chocolate sponge cake. The lightest fresh whipped cream comes tucked between the squares, all outfitted in a silky dark chocolate ganache.
(Info from: http://ladym.com.sg/)
Very yummy cakes, worth to go back for more!
A/Prof Anne Goh from SGH opened the session.
Why is there a need to clear up the confusion?
- There have been great efforts made over the past few years to increase awareness about cervical cancer and options for prevention.
- Rates have dropped since the introduction of Cervical Screen, Singapore’s pap smear screening programme.
- HPV Vaccination was made Medisave Payable in 2010 for young girls.
- Dispelling the myths will help all in a better education about cervical cancer and how you can prevent through regular screening and vaccination.
And we have Prof Tay Sun Kuie from SGH to give us more information about
Cervical Cancer: Screening & Vaccination.
Myth 1: Cervical Cancer is not common, it can never happen to me.
- The number of cervical cancer cases in Singapore has been decreasing in the last 20 years because women take part in prevention programs.
- Without these programs, cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancer affecting women. Globally, 500,000 women are diagnosed each year.
Myth 2: I am not a risk of Cervical Cancer as there is no such history in my family.
- Almost all cases of cervical cancer occur in women with no family history of it. It is caused by a common virus – HPV.
- There are about 130 different types of HPV, but only 15 cause cancer.
Myth 3: Getting Cervical Cancer is linked to being sexually promiscuous.
- HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact: 1. Sexual intercourse or contact at the genital area 2. Non sexual contact (mother to infant delivery)
- Women can still be infected from having just one partner.
- Every sexually active woman is at risk of being infected by HPV because it is so common and so easily transmitted.
Myth 4: I am feeling well, I do have HPV infection.
- Cancer causing HPV is silent. Infected individuals do not know that they are infected and may unknowingly spread the virus.
- Early cervical cancer has no signs or symptoms, this is why regular screening and prevention are critical.
- As the cancer progresses, these symptoms and signs include: Vaginal bleeding following intercourse, or in between periods or after menopause. Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have foul smell. Lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse.
Myth 5: If I have normal Pap Smear, it means I will not have cervical cancer.
- A pap smear is a screening test to detect any changes in cervical cells.
- One normal Pap smear IS NOT ENOUGH to protect you from CERVICAL CANCER.
- In Singapore, all woman aged between 25 and 69 years-old who ever have had sex are advised to have a Pap smear done once every 3 years.
Myth 6: Pap Smear Program is effective, HPV vaccination is UNNECESSARY.
- Pap smear and HPV vaccination play different roles in the holistic prevention of cervical cancer:
- Pap Smear: Detects changes in the cells of your cervix which may develop into cancer later.
- Vaccination: To help prevent certain HPV infection and reduce the risk of developing cervical pre-cancers and Cervical Cancer.
Myth 7: I am already sexually active, so the vaccine will not work for me.
- The best time to vaccinate is prior to sexual debut.
- If does not treat or protect against any HPV infection you may already have. But it is very rare that you are infected by both types of cancer causing HPV at the same time.
- HPV vaccine has been proven to protect thousands of women in the clinical trials who were already sexually active.
Hope all the myths above will helps you to clear your doubts about Cervical Cancer and give you the awareness about it.
I will give you more information and myths about the vaccination, so do read on.
She shared with us some stories about her cervical cancer patients.
And let us know the importance of preventing it. She said every women has the risk, do not think cervical cancer is only for sexually active and always change of partner women will have it. In fact, most of her cervical cancer patients are normal housewives. And her youngest patient whom died from Cervical Cancer was just 27 years old, do not think cervical cancer will only being contracted if you are above 40 years old.
And lastly we have A/Prof Anne Goh back to tell us more about the Vaccination.
Myth 8: My daughter is too young to be vaccinated. She won’t be at risk of cervical cancer at the age of 10.
- Better immunogenicity – Immune response is stronger when vaccinating young.
- Singapore’s recommendation – Singapore has included HPV vaccination into it’s National Childhood Immunization Programme starting from the age 9-26 years. The decision to go for HPV vaccination is based on informed choice.
Myth 9: Vaccinating adolescents will encourage sexual promiscuity.
- The goal of vaccination is to reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
- Therefore, vaccination should not encourage promiscuity.
Myth 10: I must wait for my daughters menses before vaccination.
- Vaccination will not impact the onset of menstrual cycle.
- The antibodies generated by the vaccine will not interfere with adolescent development.
- The main side effects associated with the vaccine are: Injection site pain, redness. Low grade fever. Fatigue.
Do you know that Singapore Cancer Society provides FREE Pap Smear Screening?
SCS provides free Pap smear screening to women Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents above the age of 25 years. For an appointment and more information, please contact us at 6499 9133 (Monday – Friday: 8.30am to 6.00pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
More info read here: http://www.singaporecancersociety.org.sg/WhatWeDo/PapSmear.aspx
For HPV Vaccination, you may consult your own GPs or Polyclinics for more information.
Most General Practitioners (GPs) and Family Clinics provide the vaccination services.
Medisave of S$400 per year per account on or after 1 Jan 2012 can be used for HPV Vaccination.
*Only for females aged 9 to 26 years (for vaccinations received on or after 1 Nov 2010).
“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.
Thanks Rachel for the invitation, I’ve learned a lot about Cervical Cancer after the session.
We shall prevent it by having Pap Smear test once every 3 years & HPV Vaccination.
We have to protect ourselves!