Celebrities, including the widow of an artist and a beauty titlist, were in Cebu Tuesday to advocate for cervical cancer vaccination as part of the celebration of the International Women's Day.
Every day, 12 Filipinas die of cervical cancer, the second leading cause of female mortality in the country.
Women representatives from the different barangays in Cebu City, who were mostly garbed in pink, trooped to Cebu city hall to join the celebration as they listened to Pia Magalona, the wife of the late artist Francis Magalona, and Bb. Pilipinas Universe Abbygale Arenas.
Francis Magalona died of leukemia or cancer of the blood, a form of cancer that does not have a vaccine or treatment.
Pia said at least cervical cancer has a vaccine unlike any other cancer.
Girls as young as 10 years old can be vaccinated.
"For young girls between 15 and 25 years old, long lasting protection is necessary because this is when they will be the most prone to the HPV (human papillomavirus) virus," a press release read.
HPV or human papillomavirus causes cervical cancer. There are about 100 types of HPV with 15 causing cervical cancer.
Arenas and Pia are going around the country advocating for vaccination.
Dr. Belinda Panares of the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City said the vaccine costs an average of P2,500 for every shot. Women need three shots to be cervical cancer-free for a lifetime.
Panares said the cost may scare women whose main concern is putting food on the table, but she said the cost of treatment for cancer would reach hundreds of thousands with radiation and chemotherapy.