Last November 5, I attended Andi Manzano's Bridal Shower at Makati Shangri-La Hotel. This event was unique because it's no ordinary bridal shower. This day, I got to learn about something that could possibly save my life.
X Means Love aims to empower women through increasing awareness and driving urgency to fight cervical cancer. This advocacy campaign aims to increase awareness in preventing cervical cancer, or cancer in the cervix (the lower, narrow part of the uterus or the womb), and is supported by GlaxoSmithKline and Healthway Medical.
Before the event started, we were treated to this gorgeous pink buffet of sweets.
We also got the chance to share X Means Love to our family and friends through these pink envelopes. Here, I wrote down the names of my Mom and sisters, so they could all get the HPV vaccine at a discounted rate from Healthway Medical.
The pink X we see is a symbol of love. It's about time we proactively take action on protecting ourselves and our loved ones from cervical cancer through screening and vaccination.
Andi Manzano is the new ambassador for X Means Love, a cervical cancer awareness advocacy campaign where women share what X Means to them. As Andi prepares to X out her single status, she also X-es our cervical cancer from her life.
But of course, a bridal shower won't be complete without games! We played 3 awesome and wholesome games, like Bridal Shower Bingo, Purse Raid, and Bridal Jackpot. All of which, luck wasn't on my side that night! Haha!
Andi's passion is to empower women - single or married - to X-out the risks of HPV and cervical cancer.
She decided to do this advocacy because early this year, her mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The time she was supposed to be preparing for her wedding, she spent taking care and just being there for her mom - who was also her best friend. She witnessed her mom growing weak in just a matter of weeks after going through all the motions from the chemotherapy to radiation treatments. Cervical cancer affects the body with much haste and instant pain. To see your loved ones suffer is a very tough experience. But by the grace of God, her mom has been cured and is in remission.
The silver lining in all of this is that cervical cancer is preventable, and is one of the easiest to treat if detected early. Worldwide, and also in the Philippines, cervical cancer ranks as the second most frequent cancer among women, the first being breast cancer. It is estimated that every year, 4,544 Pinays are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 1,856 die from the disease.
This type of cancer is cunning and deceptive. In its early stage, cervical cancer may have no signs or symptoms. Women may go about their lives thinking that nothing’s wrong, but they should have themselves screened for cancer before it's too late. Also, taking preventive medicine like the HPV vaccine can help prevent this disease.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a necessary cause of cervical cancer. Genital HPV is a common, highly transmissible virus that is passed from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. Most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never know it. It is estimated that up to 80 percent of women will acquire an HPV infection in their lifetime. Regardless of age, lifestyle, or socio-economic status, every woman is at risk of the cancer-causing HPV infection, which may lead to cervical cancer. Cervical cancer can be prevented through screening (Pap smear or HPV DNA test, or both) and vaccination.
HPV vaccines are safe and effective. Prevention is the best treatment and early detection can save lives. All women deserve a fighting chance against cervical cancer. In our country, it is estimated that the financial cost of preventing cervical cancer through screening and vaccination could be more than 20 times cheaper than the cost of treatment.
HPV vaccines have different characteristics, components, and indications. I have found a helpful guide from FemaleNetwork.com about cervical cancer and the types of vaccines that are available in the market today.
I won't take the risk. Like Andi, I'm also X-ing out cervical cancer from my life by taking a full-course of HPV vaccine. I'll be sharing with you my experience on that soon!