When X means Love, a new campaign recently launched to increase awareness of Cervical Cancer, the second most common cancer among women in the country, with an estimated 4,800 mothers, daughters, wives, and girl friends diagnosed each year. Every day, there are 12 Filipino women who die from this disease.
Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), most commonly spread through sexual contact. It may lay undetected for as long as 10 years as women infected with HPV may show no signs and symptoms. At this very moment, an estimated 10,000 to 25,000 women are said to be undiagnosed cases.
The good news is that cervical cancer can be prevented through regular medical consultation, screening and vaccination, which may reduce the risk by as much as 94%. Locally, HPV vaccines may be administered as early as the age of 9, which may prevent Filipino women from being part of the alarming statistics that report 270,000 cervical cancer deaths per year worldwide.
To raise awareness about the need for protection, pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) partnered with the ABS-CBN Foundation to encourage more Filipino women to protect themselves against cervical cancer. Their efforts were applauded, supported and joined by various medical and non – medical organizations such as the Bravehearts Coalition of the Philippines, Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society of the Philippines (POGS), Society of Gynecologic Oncology of the Philippines (SGOP), Cervical Cancer Association of the Philippines (CECAP), Philippine SocietyAsia Oceana Research Institute for Gynecological Infection and Neoplasia (AOGIN), and Healthway Medical. This collaboration has resulted in a media campaign that seeks to spread the word about the disease and the powerful impact of prevention.
Lending their voice to this urgent call to action are popular female personalities who show their whole-hearted support for this campaign called X Means Love. The advocacy aims to reach out to Filipino women and their families, to encourage preventive measures against cervical cancer.
Actress, singer and host Toni Gonzaga leads the campaign, together with mother-and-daughter tandem Janella Salvador and Janine Desiderio, and TV news correspondents Ginger Conejero and Marie Lozano took time off from their busy schedules to talk about the importance of cervical cancer prevention, which empowers the women of today to fight this killer cancer.
The symbolic X on their arms illustrates the need to cross out cervical cancer as a health threat, not only to themselves, but to their families, friends and loved ones too. The campaign seeks to show that, for more Filipino women , cervical cancer prevention means showing love for family, friends, and self so that they may live life to the fullest without having to worry about cervical cancer.