|A cervical cancer survivor shares her story|
Statistics show that cervical cancer is currently the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women and 7 Filipinas die of it every day. More worrisome though are statistics showing that 2 out of 3 Filipinas diagnosed may die within 5 years. This is because cervical cancer symptoms usually do not present themselves until it is already at an advanced stage.
The human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common virus, is said to be the cause of cervical cancer. 99.7% of cervical cancer patients are positive for HPV. 70-90% of HPV infections are asymptomatic and usually resolve spontaneously within 1-2 years, about 5-10% of adult infected women will experience persistent infection.
While the primary transmission of HPV is via sexual intercourse, it can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin genital contact. And even if a woman is careful with her sexual habits and only has one sexual partner, if the partner is not monogamous, he could transmit the virus to her.
The risk is there, regardless of age. In a study of 307 women in Ontario, it was found that the highest incidence of infection was in girls aged 15-19. (Sellors JW et al. CMAJ 2003; 168:421-5). In older women, the risk increases with age and is highest when the women are over 66 years old. (Adapted from Castle P et al. JID. 2005; 191: 1808-16.) Doctors recommend screening beginning at age 21 to detect cervical abnormalities while for older women, vaccination is recommended to prevent new HPV infections.
GSK has always been at the forefront of cervical cancer awareness efforts and this year, they tied up with none other than VMV Hypoallergenics (one of the brands I use because their ingredients are fragrance free, dye free, paraben free, non-drying, non-comedogenic, and non-darkening, among others).
I was wondering how such a tie-up with a cosmetic brand would be relevant to their campaign. Turns out that the symbol used was VMV's purple lipstick.
Lipstick is very much part of a woman's identity. She uses lipstick to make a statement about herself, even from her choice of lipstick color. By letting women use purple lipstick, women are showing their support for Power Pout or the Power over Cervical Cancer.
My friend Noemi and I are here showing our support for the campaign.
|Holding VMV's purple lipstick|
|Here we go...|
|….applying lipstick before putting out pout on paper|
|And here I am taking a picture of my pout while Noemi poses already|