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P&G's cancer awareness campaign set to begin

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- To further raise cancer awareness and promote preventative screening among women, Procter & Gamble (P&G) announced at a press event yesterday that its “6 Minutes Protect A Life” campaign will take place throughout the month.

In its 19th year, the campaign, which is part of the company's long-term commitment to reducing cancer among women, has helped over 5 million Taiwanese women receive preventative cancer screenings.

Coinciding with international cancer awareness month events and Mother's Day celebrations, this year's campaign will feature a neighborhood outreach program designed by entertainer Miss Lin Chi-ling — named this year's campaign ambassador. It will also include a fleet of 20 mobile cancer-screening vans bringing convenient preventative care to women throughout Taiwan.

P&G's campaign this year represents a collaborative effort with numerous local health authorities and governing bodies, including Taipei, Changhua County, Hsinchu City, Chiayi County, Yilan County and Miaoli County.

The fleet of 20 mobile screening vans will be led by Wu Chien-yuan (吳建遠), chief of the Bureau of Health Promotion's (BHP, 國民健康局) Cancer Control and Prevention Division.

According to a 2010 study by the BHP, cancer among Taiwanese women is on the rise, with a new case diagnosed on average every 46 minutes and 3 seconds — a reduction of 3 minutes, signifying a marked increase in the frequency of the disease.

Breast cancer remains the most prevalent female-specific variant of the disease, with it and cervical cancer listed among the top 10 most common cancers among Taiwanese people.

The BHP has highlighted some positives, however.

Recent statistics indicate that through preventative screenings, the five-year survival rate for female-specific cancers has increased to 80 percent. Of all incidents of the disease in Taiwan, an estimated 82.8 percent of breast cancer diagnoses occur in the early discovery stage (stage zero, one, and two), while the detection rate for early-stage cervical cancer (stage zero and one) increased to 90.08 percent of all diagnoses, according to the BHP.

In addition, Chiou Shu-ti (邱淑媞), director-general of the BHP, emphasized that up to 90.8 percent of fatalities attributed to female-specific stage-zero or stage-one cancers can be prevented with early detection and treatment.

Early detection and treatment remains the most effective method of reducing cancer among women, Wu said, while commending P&G's ceaseless efforts in the endeavor.

The 20 mobile screening vans represent an outreach program at the front line of the struggle against cancer, providing preventative care to women who may be hindered by constraints such as time and a lack of available medical resources in rural areas.

With Lin as the campaign's ambassador, it is hoped that an estimated 60,000 Taiwanese women will take part in screenings — perhaps the most important six minutes of their lives.

As Mothers' Day nears, over 100 cancer patients stepped forward yesterday to support and spur on the fight against the disease, with a choir performance and heartfelt testimonials, as pairs of mothers and daughters used the occasion to give thanks for mutual support.

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Lin Chi-ling, right, the ambassador for this year's “6 Minutes Protect A Life” campaign, reads a letter of thanks written by a daughter, left, to her mother. The daughter expressed gratitude to her mother for standing by her throughout her long and arduous treatment for cancer.

(Courtesy of P&G)

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