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27 Oct 2018

27th Oct 2018

Dr Ravindran Kanesvaran, Vice Chairman of Singapore Cancer Society

Mr Albert Ching, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Cancer Society

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

            Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to join you at the Singapore Cancer Society’s (SCS) launch of its human papillomavirus (HPV) education programme.

CERVICAL CANCER: A DISEASE OF CONCERN AMONG WOMEN

2          In Singapore, cervical cancer is the tenth most common cancer and the eighth most common cause of cancer deaths among Singaporean women in 2015. Between 2011 and 2015, about 1,000 new cervical cancer cases were diagnosed in Singapore, averaging over 200 cases and over 70 deaths from cervical cancer per year. It has been estimated that about one in 140 women currently below the age of 75 years old will develop cervical cancer in their lifetime[1].

3          Cervical cancer is however potentially preventable. Cervical cancer is usually caused by HPV – a virus infection that can be prevented through vaccination. In Singapore, the Expert Committee on Immunisation (ECI) recommends HPV vaccination in females aged 9 to 26 years old for protection against the disease. As part of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) efforts to facilitate the take-up of HPV vaccination, MOH has included the HPV vaccination under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule and the National Adult Immunisation Schedule. Singaporeans recommended for the HPV vaccinations can use up to $500 of MediSave, under the MediSave500 scheme, to pay for their HPV vaccinations.

4          In addition to vaccination, early detection of cervical cancer through Pap smear screening can lead to effective treatment. Since September 2017, MOH and the Health Promotion Board (HPB) have enhanced subsidies for the Screen For Life programme to encourage more Singaporeans to go for the recommended health screenings and follow-ups. Pioneers, Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) cardholders, and all other Singaporeans can access subsidised screening and one post-screening follow-up consultation at CHAS GP clinics. We have kept fees affordable, at $0, $2 and $5 respectively, as long as they are recommended by HPB to go for screening. Between September 2017 to August this year, about 14,000 Pap smears have been conducted at CHAS GP clinics.

NEED FOR INDIVIDUALS TO TAKE ACTION

5          I am heartened to see community partners such as SCS, with the support of the Tote Board, coming up with a programme to create greater awareness of the need for HPV vaccination. Even as MOH and community partners work to educate the public on the importance of vaccination, individuals also need to play a part to protect their health and the health of their loved ones. Taking immediate steps is important especially as the vaccination has a recommended window for those who are between 9 and 26 years old[2].

CLOSING

6          In closing, I hope that the public education campaign undertaken by SCS will empower more women to take greater ownership in protecting themselves against cervical cancer. For all parents who are here with us today, I encourage you to get your daughters vaccinated against HPV early.

7          I wish everyone good health. Thank you.

 



[1]   Singapore Cancer Registry Annual Registry Report Trends in Cancer Incidence in Singapore 2011-2015.

[2] Vaccination should also be received before the onset of sexual activity. Patient will be advised by doctors who will verify the suitability for vaccination.




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