DISEASE:Celebs lend their voice to break the silence over cervical cancer in an awareness and prevention campaign
FIVE celebrities are lending their voice in a campaign to break the silence on cervical cancer, the third leading cancer among Malaysian women.
The Power Over Cervical Cancer (POCC) campaign, organised by the National Cancer Society Malaysia (NCSM), features cervical cancer survivor Genevieve Sambhi, television host Rina Omar, radio host Sarimah Ibrahim and celebrity sisters Pamela and Vanessa Chong.
The programme under the campaign is entitled BFFs Break the Silence. It aims to have women from all walks of life spread the word about cervical cancer, which is the cancer most easily prevented.
At the recent launch of the campaign, the celebrities spoke about why they were so passionate about the campaign's message.
When Sambhi was diagnosed with the cancer three years ago, she learnt that many women suffered likewise.
"I learnt how easy it is to prevent the disease through vaccination, so I made a promise to myself that I would do anything I can to help spread the word on the disease," she said, adding that women needed to go for pap smears to detect the disease early.
Sarimah said she wanted to help people fight cancer, no matter what kind, because her brother had cancer. It's also a a way for me to educate myself about cancer and share it with others.
The Chong sisters said it was scary how little people know about the third most common cancer among women.
"We want to raise awareness on it," said Pamela.
After the launch, NCSM Women's Cancer Detection Centre head medical officer Dr Dalilah Kamaruddin said that it was difficult to change women's mind set on the disease and the importance of vaccination.
She said more and more elderly women were seeking vaccination, even though it is less effective if the vaccination is done after age 50.
She also called on the high risk group among single women to get pap smears two years after the onset of sexual activity.
Also present were Henri Ataki, a representative from drug company GlaxoSmithKline which supports the campaign, and NCSM managing director Rubi-Ain Dahlan.
One of the recent POCC programmes was participating in the inaugural Go-Kart Race for Charity at the Sepang International Circuit on April 21. All proceeds from the race were channelled to NCSM.
There will also be other campaigns to raise awareness, particularly to students in local universities and colleges.
For details, visit pocc.com.my or POCC Malaysia's Facebook page.