Thursday, May 1, 2014

Protect to Tell – Cervical Cancer Awareness

The "Protect to Tell – Cervical Cancer Awareness" was held at Lady M. (1 Fullerton Road #01-10) on a relaxing Saturday afternoon and professional doctors were invited to talk about Cervical Cancer, and share more knowledge on how we can protect ourselves. 

The place was lovely decorated with pastel colours balloons and on every seat, there was a balloon tied to it, and we were to write down things and people that we loved on the balloons. 

At the event, A/Prof Anne Goh (President of Singapore Pediatric Society) and Prof Tay Sun Kuie (Senior Consultant, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, SGH) shared with us the Top 10 Myths about Cervical Cancer, Pap Smears and Vaccination, and reasons why adolescents are encourage to go for vaccination.

Myth 1: Cervical Cancer is not common, it can never happen to me.
Truth: Cervical Cancer can happen to any women and Cervical Cancer is the 2nd most common cancer affecting women. Gloabally, 500,000 women are diagnosed each year.

Myth 2: I am not at risk of Cervical Cancer as there is no such history in my family.
Truth: 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. The four most frequent and aggressive HPV types that cause cervical cancer worldwide are HPV16, HPV18, HPV45, HPV31.  

Myth 3: Getting Cervical Cancer is linked to being sexually promiscuous.
Truth: Not totally true. HPV is transmitted through Skin-to-Skin contact like sexual intercourse or contact at the gential area or non sexual contact (mother to infant during delivery). Women can still be infected from having just one partner as HPV is so common and easily transmitted.

Myth 4: I am feeling well, I do not have HPV infection.
Truth: Early Cervical Cancer has no signs or symptoms, and regular screening and prevention are critical. As the cancer progresses, symptoms and signs include 
1. Vaginal bleeding following intercourse, or in between periods or after menopause
2. Watery, bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul smell
3. Lower abdominal pain or pain during intercourse 

Myth 5: If I have a normal Pap smear, it means I will not have Cervical Cancer.
Truth: A Pap smear is a screening test to detect any changes in cervical cells, and one normal Pap smear is not enough to protect individual from Cervical Cancer. In Singapore, women aged between 25 to 69 years-old who ever have had sex are advised to have a Pap smear done once every 3 years.

Myth 6: Pap Smear Programme is effective, HPV vaccination in unnecessary.
Truth: Pap smear and HPV vaccination play different roles in holistic prevention of cervical cancer.
Pap smear: Detects changes in the cells of your cervix which may develop into cancer.
Vaccination: To help prevent certain HPV infection and reduce the risk of developing cervical pre-cancers into Cervical Cancer.

Myth 7: I am already sexually active, so the vaccine will not work for me.
Truth: The best time to vaccinate in prior to sexual debut as HPV vaccine had been proven to protect thousands of women in the clinical trials who were already sexually active.

Myth 8: My daughter is too young to be vaccinated. She won't be at risk of Cervical Cancer at the age of 10. 

Myth 9: Vaccinating adolescents will encourage sexual promiscuity.
Truth: The goal 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.
Truth: Vaccination will not impact the onset of the menstrual cycle. The antibodies generated by the vaccine will not interfere with adolescent developement. The main side effects observed with the vaccine are
1. Injection site pain, redness
2. Low grade fever
3. Fatigue

Next speaker was Dr Chia Yin Nin (Senior Consultant Gynecologist & Gynecologic Oncologist, Gynecology & Oncology Specialists, Glenealges Hospital) who shared with us the importance of Pap smear screening.

Cervical Cancer is positioned at the Number 8 most frequent cancers in Singapore from a data taken from 2006-2014.

There are 2 ways of prevention; HPV Vaccination and Pap Smear screening.

For Pap smear screening, a small sample of cells from the cervix and vagina is collected for laboratory examination to detect for cancerous cells, and if cancerous cells are being detected at the early stage, the person actually has a higher chance of full recovery with appropriate treatments.

All women can say NO! to Cervical Cancer if we take the proper prevention methods; HPV vaccination and Pap Smear.

In Singapore, Pap Smear is complimentary for Singaporean and Permanent Residents, for women aged between 25 and 69 who have engaged in sexual intercourse before. Pap smear is encouraged to be done at least once every 3 years. 

I encourage all women to go for HPV vaccination to reduce the risk of contracting Cervical Cancer, and for women who have had intercourse, go for frequent Pap smear to ensure that there are no cancerous cells in your cervix, and even if there is, early detection of cancerous cells will be able to help you recover faster with appropriate treatments and you won't have to risk losing your life because of Cervical Cancer.

Signing off with photos with my friends and two photos of the most delicious Vanilla Mille Crepes and Green Tea Mille Crepes at Lady M.

This Vanilla Mille Crepes is made with twenty paper-thin handmade crepes layered with light pastry cream, S$8.00 per slice. 
My ratings: 5/5 
I've never tasted crepes as good as this, especially the light and smoothness of the pastry cream combined with the perfect fragrant and taste of the crepes.

This Green Tea Mille Crepes has fine green tea powder infused into every element of it, S$8.50 per slice.
My ratings: 4/5
With each mouth, the green tea taste is so flavourful and full of the green tea fragrance. However, because of the strong taste, halfway through it, it got a little jelat, so maybe sharing with a friend is better so that you won't waste it by being unable to finish up the remaining half. 

That's all for this post. Thank you for reading and supporting! :)
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter: @SimYvonne

Disclaimer: “Protect to Tell – Cervical Cancer Awareness” 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.

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