"The torn skin, aching bones, blood,
But you wake up as if nothing had happened. "- Charles Bukowski [i]
Electron micrograph of human
papillomavirus (HPV). Courtesy of NCI. 1986.
A day like any other, either in the morning or afternoon, a woman is informed that she has cervical cancer. She goes to the office of a professional in medicine and that person gives her a document, that with certainty and very strange words reveals a dark truth. At that time this woman's life changes, or is about to do. From this starting point, she enters a world of new perspectives and languages.
The woman in this situation, formulates questions that far from getting accurate answers, leads her to discover the crudeness of existence, the consequences of human behavior and in the best case to rethink her life expectancies.
Upon hearing the explanation of a doctor on the issue, the first thing that comes to mind is whether it is curable or not. To this specific question, no one has a right answer like in other important issues of life. Doctors answer based in statistics and numbers even knowing that cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. [Ii] She wonders how it happened, how a cancer is growing inside her body and she could not warn.
The doctor tells her that this cancer comes from the human papillomavirus (HPV) and is transmitted by sexual contact. [Iii] During her lifetime, she has been with different life partners without fear or concerns. Intimacy always has been an act of love, mutual trust and communication. At any moment you conceive that through intimacy you can spread an invisible seed that may grow and develop roots, or shoot a bullet that reaches the bottom, a time bomb without a clock, a broken destination or simply death.
Sometimes the doubt gnaws the soul, because this seed falls asleep indefinitely to wake up hungry and consume the cells in its path. [Iv] Some women will never be able to give birth regardless of whether they achieve to remove this virus from the root. This evil devours security, self-esteem, emotional stability and tranquility. The woman, aware of her situation, many times recognizes the person who transmitted the infection and sees it as a source that spreads sickness but does not suffer from it. How ironic to think that both in teenage pregnancy and cervical cancer, the beginning is by two and in the end only one carries the future. She herself could become a lethal source if she wanted to.
How to think that death exists in a delivery of love?
One in ten (Roses), 2016.
HPV is known by most of the bodies, but not the minds. It is more likely that women suffer from it than men. There are over 100 serotypes of this virus. There are low-risk and high risk, the latter group is the one that has the ability to cause cancer. 80% of the population has been in contact with the papilloma virus but has not realized. [V] It reproduces and kills almost anonymously, taking advantage of the silence that we socially encourage.
Squamous cell carcinoma. (Caused by HPV). Courtesy of CDC, 2006.
The woman faces an uncertain reality that trembles not only her own strength but also her partners’ and family. Tired of looking for the guilty, she turns to herself in solitude, searching a solution not only for herself but also for the small human beings who will have to go through this in the future. The doctor said that there was a vaccine against this cancer [vi], yet many people unjustifiably refuse because of the fear of getting the disease. If they could understand that it is not about getting people sick, but to create a collective immunity that protects both women and men, perhaps they could see that indirect damage begins by denying prevention. Prevention starts talking and ends taking actions, from a talk with the children about respect and personal health to the choice of how and to whom we give our intimacy.
To think that through something as symbolic and intimate as sexual intercourse has the potential to greatly harm the women is something that I personally find very important. The man is the one who spreads this virus, and in our society the woman is vaccinated and not the vector that spreads the virus. [Vii] How ironic to think that we intend to avoid the consequences of a crime but not its realization. Vaccinating both men and women not only speaks of an immunological equity but to recognize that man has the ability to spread cancer. He has the potential to become a biological weapon no matter how much love exists. Currently there is no legislation that prohibits this from happening.
16 (Virus), 2016.
It is time to rethink our behavior and understand that our social conceptions have a significant impact on life expectancy. Ideas have a great potential which translates not only to economic and social aspects but also biological. In Mexico, as in other developing countries, there is a growing in cancers of this type [viii] that could have been avoided if only we spoke of them in order to take actions consciously. We all know someone who currently holds this virus and doesn’t know it.
No copyright restrictions, special thanks to CDC.
My intention is to create a meeting point between the viewer and this reality. Art is not only a way of expression, but has infinite possibilities that have not been explored thoroughly. That's why with this argument I seek to make visible a problem that lives in discrimination, anonymity and ignorance. I try to communicate the importance of this issue and make a critique around a social and sexual behavior that is present today. Finally I intend to raise awareness and hopefully a change.
[I] Bop Bop Bop Charles Bukowski "a woman wanted" against the curtain. (Fragment) Revised on April 10, 2015.
[Ii] Info Cancer Mexico. Cancer figures. Globocan2012 "Women" Revised on November 16, 2015.
[Iii] CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Genital HPV Infection - Fact Sheet Revised November 17, 2015.
[Iv] CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gynecologic Cancers. Cervical Cancer Revised on November 18, 2015.
[V] National Cancer Institute. About cancer. HPV and Cancer. 2015. Revised the November 20, 2015.
[Vi] IDSA Infectious Diseases Society of America. Breaking News and Alerts. FDA. FDA Approves Gardasil 9 for prevention of cancers Caused by Certain types of HPV additional five. December 10, 2014 Revised the November 17, 2015.
[Vii] CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Human Papillomavirus (HPV) HPV and Men - Fact Sheet. Revised on December 21, 2015.
[Viii] Info Cancer Mexico. Cancer figures. Globocan2012 "Women" Revised on November 16, 2015.