Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR110518 Australia and the Philippines promote Cervical Cancer Awareness


Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod
Smith with Health Secretary Enrique Ona and
cervical cancer vaccine pioneer Professor Ian
Frazer during the "Catching Cancer: A Forum
on Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control".

In observance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, the Department of Health and the Australian Embassy recently held ‘Catching Cancer: A Forum on Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control’ at the EDSA Shangri-la Hotel.

The forum featured eminent Australian scientist Professor Ian Frazer with other experts including Dr Honorata Catibog of Department of Health (DOH) and Dr John Juliard-Go of the World Health Organisation, who provided local and global perspectives on the problem. Professor Frazer is the creator of the vaccine against the human papillomavirus designed to prevent cervical cancer.

Representatives from government and non-government organisations, medical profession, and the academe were given an exclusive screening of ‘Catching Cancer’, the award-winning Australian documentary which investigates emerging evidence linking viruses and bacteria to an increasing number of cancers. The documentary features Professor Frazer and other experts, including Australian Nobel laureate Professor Barry Marshall.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, Rod Smith said the event served to share knowledge and ideas with key partners on the prevention and control of cervical cancer.

“Professor Frazer’s work demonstrates Australia’s strong record of innovation and achievement in many fields including sciences and medicine. The most important message of his visit is that cervical cancer is preventable through scientific advances and community education,” Ambassador Smith said.

Professor Frazer explained that cervical cancer is a preventable disease through vaccination and early detection. He encouraged Filipino women to take advantage of the cervical cancer screening programs provided by the Philippine Government. “No woman should have to die of cervical cancer in the 21st century,” Professor Frazer said.

Ambassador Smith expressed Australia’s strong support for the efforts of the Philippine administration, led by Health Secretary Enrique Ona and non-government organisations, in raising awareness of cervical cancer, and its prevention and control.

Cervical cancer kills more than a quarter of a million every year worldwide. In developing countries where cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death in women, it is estimated that 95% of women have never undergone screening.

Professor Frazer visited a mobile clinic offering free cervical cancer screening in Muntinlupa City, organised by the local government, DOH, CECAP (Cervical Cancer Prevention Network Program) and the Cancer Institute Foundation.

A lecture on ‘Cancer Prevention in the 21st Century was also delivered by Professor Frazer at the University of the Philippines Manila-College of Medicine to launch the Australian Embassy Manila’s ‘Scientists in Schools’ initiative. The program aims to bring an Australian scientist each year to lecture at Philippine high schools and universities to increase interest in science education, research and innovation. ENDS