The vaccine costs around US $360.00 or nearly PhP20,000.00 using the current exchange rates. The Australian biotech company which distributes the vaccine is set to receive a "$US10 million milestone payment," aside from royalties from future vaccine sales.
Said vaccine is recommended to be given to girls and women aged between 9 and 26, with a course of 3 injections given in a period of 6 months. Clinical trials have shown that the vaccine is most effective when given to girls before they begin having sex. Prof. Frazer added that girls who are between 9 and 12 years old have better antibody responses than older girls. The vaccine, however, does NOT protect women who are already infected.
Sa bayan kong sawi, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among Philippine females (#1 women cancer here is still breast cancer). Two-thirds of cervical cancer patients here are diagnosed at an advanced stage. Most of them die too, because of "inadequate radiotherapy facilities."
Why are most Philippine cervical cancer patients diagnosed at an advanced stage of cervical cancer?
'Several reasons are given ---
- lack of knowledge among women about symptoms,
- a fatalistic attitude towards cancer in general and a lack of awareness that cervical cancer can be cured,
- lack of cytological facilities (for Pap Smear) and expertise,
- lack of treatment facilities in rural areas , and...
- lack of patient’s compliance to follow up for check-up and treatment.
A 2000 descriptive study of the grim situation here showed that
- only 42 percent of 389 hospitals nationwide offer screening and early detection services for cervical cancer, and of these hospitals, only 8 percent have clinics dedicated to cancer screening,
- a cytology technician is available in only 21 percent of hospitals,
- a pathologist is available in 45 percent of hospitals,
- it takes approximately 47 days for a woman to travel from her residence to the clinic for a pap smear until the time she obtains the result.
Hah! With the present shift in careers of most health personnel to nursing and massive migration to Western countries, the high cost of the vaccine, the hopelessness, depression, ignorance, and fatalism of most Filipina cervical cancer patients, do you still see this fantastic vaccine helping most of the patients here?
It is amusing and ironic that vaccines like this are invented for those who need it the most, and yet, they will not get it.
My deep apologies if I ruined your Sunday.