Hospital Fatimah Ipoh organised a Cervical Cancer Awareness campaign on Tuesday, April 3. The aim of the campaign is to instil awareness and to encourage women to screen themselves. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women in Malaysia. However, it is one that can be prevented.
Five pageant beauties from Hawaii, Mauritius, Ireland, New Zealand and India joined in to assist in the campaign. They handed out umbrellas and bookmarkers containing information on cervical cancer at Buntong Market and Bercham Market. Ninety five lucky women were given vouchers which entitled them for a free pap-smear test at Hospital Fatimah.
“The aim is to detect the condition before it becomes cancerous. If it’s detected early, major and drastic treatments such as chemotherapy can be avoided. You’d be spending about RM25,000 to RM35,000 on radiation and chemotherapy if you have cancer. Not to mention the excruciating pain you have to go through. Therefore, it’d be much better to prevent it,” said Dr George Chan, the resident consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist of the hospital.
He stressed on the importance of HPV vaccination. The vaccine, he added, merely reduces the chances of getting the disease but does not prevent it. “Women should get screened even after they are vaccinated. Once a woman is sexually active, they need to be screened,” he said.
Despite the campaign, Dr George still thinks more needs to be done to spread awareness on cervical cancer amongst Malaysians.
“There has not been enough coverage. The government has started vaccination programmes in secondary schools. However, we still have to raise awareness on the importance of getting screened. Women in Malaysia are encouraged to go for a pap-smear test at least once every three years.”