Celebrity bloggers and personalities lead the fight against cervical cancer with the Power Over Cervical Cancer coalition.
Contributed By Yeo Zhi Qi
Instead of the usual Saturday night rave crowds on June 24, Zouk turned into a sea of pink as people from all walks of life came together in support of the Power Over Cervical Cancer party. It was a night of stunning pole fitness performances, magic performances, as well as meaningful engagements and testimonies by various POCC ambassadors and celebrities.
Recognizing that cervical cancer is the sixth killer disease in Singapore, Mrs. Singapore Queen of Hope 2010/11 and POCC Ambassador, Yuan Wenling was present during the event to encourage all ladies to take a stand against the disease by getting vaccination. Advocating that “prevention is always better than cure,” she highlighted that the disease can be prevented via regular pap smear screenings, which is a test used in gynecology to detect cancerous processes.
Cervical cancer is a disease in which cells in the cervix, the organ connecting the uterus and vagina, change or grow abnormally. With 500, 000 women diagnosed every year, cervical cancer is the second most common women’s cancer in the world. In Singapore, cervical cancer takes the life of one woman every five days and about 200 new cases are diagnosed annually.
Almost all cervical cancers are caused by a virus called Human Papillomavirus which is normally spread through sexual activity. Though the body can resolve most HPV infections, it is when the body cannot effectively clear the virus and the infection remains in the cervix, that cancerous lesions are formed.
The night started off with influential young women bloggers going on stage to raise awareness of the women’s “cancer of neglect” and to encourage young girls and women to go for their regular pap smear screening and vaccination so as to prevent cervical cancer.
Leading by example, one of the bloggers, Nadia Suadi, shared that she went for her first jab that very day and described her vaccination experience as “painless.” The POCC movement is also fronted by celebrity personalities such as radio deejay Rosalyn Lee, Beatrice Chia and Karen Tan.
Reinforcing the message to go for regular cervical screening, blogger Fidellis Toh expressed her desire to spread awareness of the disease and reassured the women present during the event that the cancer can be prevented. Telling women to “be the change that you want to see,” blogger Valerie Teo succinctly exhorted the women to take necessary steps to prevent themselves from getting cervical cancer.
The message was well-received as management consultant, Helena Lim, 28, expressed, “I have heard of cervical cancer and it is quite scary so I feel that it is very important to go for yearly vaccinations. I am encouraged to go for one myself.”
The importance of vaccinations should not be trivialized as victims may show no signs of cervical cancer during the early stages. Symptoms of cervical cancer include abnormal bleeding between periods, after menopause or after intercourse, and bloody vaginal discharge that has a foul smell.
Recounting her own battle with cervical cancer, one survivor shared that she was lonely and depressed upon being diagnosed with stage four cervical cancer. However, she moved from a period of self-pity to equipping herself with a positive mindset by taking necessary steps to improve her health.
Those present during the event learnt that all women who are or have ever been sexually active are at risk of cervical cancer. Women who have had their first sexual experience at an early age or have had multiple sexual partners during their lifetime have a higher probability of being infected with the disease. In addition, smokers are 10 times more likely to get cervical cancer than non-smokers. Those who have ever suffered from a sexually transmitted disease like gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis, or HIV also have a higher risk of contracting cervical cancer.
|CN PHOTOS: Michael Chan and
Poh Yang Zheng
Besides gaining helpful information on cervical cancer, the audience also feasted their eyes on pole fitness performances, a trendy workout among women.
The night hit a high note with magic performances by Singapore’s first professional female magician and POCC ambassador, Magic Babe Ning. She wowed audiences with her attention-grabbing stunts, including an act that saw the magician freeing herself from a strapped straitjacket without any assistance.
Amongst the audience was Dr. Colin Teo, 37, who was thoroughly entertained by the performances of the night. Describing the overall event as a great one, he suggested that vaccination booths be made available during future events for the convenience of women who wish to be vaccinated.
MediaCorp artiste and ambassador of POCC, Apple Hong, rounded off the party with an assertion on how women can stay both healthy and happy by keeping cervical cancer at bay. As threatening a disease as cervical cancer is, the Pink Party drove home the message that women can take control of their lives by going for regular vaccinations and checkups.
The POCC is targeting a goal of 20,000 pledges on its website at www.pocc.sg as a show of support in the fight against cervical cancer.
The earlier part of the day saw a flea market held at Zouk. Amid the usual trinkets and skirts, there were also contribution items made by famous bloggers and personalities, a T-shirt airbrushing stall and a pole exercise booth. All proceeds go to the Singapore Cancer Society.