AT LEAST 19 women were considered precancerous cases during the free mass screening for cervical cancer held last Sunday as part of the observance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

There were 188 women who had themselves screened, and 169 were cleared of any sign of cervical cancer during the screening at the Cebu City Central School.

The event was initiated by the Department of Health (DOH) to raise awareness on cervical cancer, and to educate and encourage women to undergo screening regularly for early detection.

Dr. Pherdes Galbo, Philippine Obstetrical Gynecologist Society (POGS) Cebu Chapter coordinator, said all the 19 women who showed signs that could lead to cervical cancer were referred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) for treatment and other diagnostic tests.

Medicinenet.com defines precancerous as something that is not yet overtly cancerous, but appears to be on its way to becoming a cancer.

Cryotherapy, a treatment for precancerous patients, is included in the treatment. Cryotherapy is the medical process of freezing the cervix using a special machine to eliminate the abnormal areas.

The Visual Inspection using Acetic Aid (VIA) method was used during last Sunday’s screening, which is similar to Pap smear for screening of cervical cancer.

POGS recommended that women start to undergo screening for cervical cancer at 21 years old, or three years after the onset of sexual intercourse so that changes would be observed.

Women are also advised to undergo annual checkup, annual Pap smear and annual breast examination at VSMMC, where the VIA is also offered for free.

Galbo said they observed that more women in urban areas are now aware of cervical cancer, owing to the availability of different media platforms.

He said they plan to hold more awareness campaign activities and outreach programs in the rural areas with the help of VSMMC and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (Rafi).

POGS, VSMMC, RAfi, the Cebu City Government, She Matters, Cebu Women’s Club and Mercks and Dohme organized the cervical cancer screening event last Sunday. Sweety Detz Conejos, CNU Intern