Roche Diagnostics Launches National Women’s Checkup Month in Light of New Cervical Cancer Survey Findings

12:35 PM

Roche [ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY] today announced data from a new Asia Pacific wide survey, which revealed that women are de-prioritising their health, while fundamental gaps around cervical cancer continue to persist.

 The survey which explored awareness and attitudes of women’s health with almost 3,000 women in the Asia Pacific region, exposed four key barriers holding women back.

Women are time-poor: Almost half of women put the needs of their family before their own, often delaying or even stopping medical treatment as a result.1

Fear: More than one third of women have never had a cervical screening and are not planning to.1 Women voiced concerns of feeling anxious before a cervical cancer check-up due to perceived pain and discomfort (17%), fear over the results (17%) or feeling embarrassed, as the key reasons for not screening.

Gaps in awareness and support: More than half of women have little to no knowledge of women’s health tests and screenings, including cervical cancer diagnostic methods.1 The data indicate, even if there is some knowledge of testing, women are still not taking action. Many women are also not getting screened as they presume there is nothing wrong with them.1 Waiting for symptoms to show can be fatally too late for women.

Women’s health undervalued: An overwhelming 71% of women feel undervalued and believe limited attention is given to female diseases.

In the Philippines, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among Filipino women. However, the country has one of the lowest cervical cancer screening rates in the world with only about 1 percent or 540,000 out of 54 million women undergoing cervical cancer screening2,3. Current estimates indicate that about 7,897 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,052 die from the disease annually.

Dr. Ingrid Magnata, Country Program Manager of Jhpiego Philippines, and one of the partners of Cervical Cancer Elimination Movement (CCEM) says, “Cervical cancer survival in the Philippines remains poor, as 75% of Filipino cervical cancer patients are diagnosed too late. This new survey reinforces the urgent need to reduce barriers and intensify efforts to ensure women have the right information and feel supported when it comes to their health. Improving access to information on where and how to get tested for diseases that impact women is a critical step to empower women when it comes to their health. Early screenings for breast or cervical cancers for example, are the first and most important step to save lives.”

To address these gaps, a new regional women’s health awareness campaign has been launched across five countries in Asia Pacific to empower women to take action and control of their own health. Themed #MakeTheMostImportantDate, Roche Diagnostics has partnered with Cervical Cancer Elimination Movement (CCEM) and Women Workers for Health Empowerment Network (WHEN) in the Philippines to launch the campaign to coincide with Mother’s Day on Sunday 12th May, 2024. Activities will run throughout the month of May in observance of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month in the Philippines. 

"At Roche Diagnostics, we understand the unique challenges that women face when it comes to their health. The Philippine National Women’s Checkup Month is not just a campaign; it's a movement to promote awareness, education, testing and support for Filipinas, celebrating the resilience and strength of women and acknowledging the need for them to put their health first, even though they have others to look after or support," said Marco Antonio Valencia Sanchez, Country Manager, Roche Diagnostics Philippines.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Roche Diagnostics for the Philippine National Women’s Checkup Month to encourage and drive more women in the country to seek out information on women's health and get tested,” added Jacq Ruiz, WHEN Convenor. 

To reach more Filipinas around the country, Roche Diagnostics is partnering with leading clinics where Filipinas can schedule their cervical cancer screening.  Together with Medi Linx Laboratory Inc. and the GMA Network’s Kapuso Foundation, cervical cancer screening using HPV DNA test (human papillomavirus deoxyribonucleic acid test) and education sessions for women in Lucban, Quezon will be made available. Driving awareness and providing access to screening to their corporate partners and patients nationwide are major laboratories like Hi-Precision Diagnostics, New World Diagnostics and Singapore Diagnostics. 

There will also be online resources, simplified clinic bookings, self-testing options and corporate screening programs. In their local office, Roche Diagnostics is conducting educational sessions and HPV DNA screening tests for employees, extending the access to female dependents.  

By encouraging conversations on the importance of cervical testing it is hoped that stigmas, barriers, and shame can be lowered. The campaign aims to inspire women and amplify the importance of fostering a culture of selfcare, where women taking care of their health is celebrated and encouraged.

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