January is world Cervical Awareness Month and the Dominica Cancer Society whose mission is to advocate and educate on cancer prevention and care is promoting pap smears.
Yvonne Alexander, president of the society, says no one has to die from cervical cancer or even have a decreased quality of life.
“Cervical cancer is considered the most common cancer affecting women worldwide and in Dominica. Interestingly, it can be detected early and treated so that there is no spread and no one has to die as a result of being diagnosed with cervical cancer,” she effuses.
“Pap smears are readily available at most major health facilities across Dominica. No woman has an excuse for not having a pap smear. It is a very simple procedure or examination which can be done by a nurse or someone can go privately to their doctor,” Alexander adds.
A pap smear is a method of cervical screening used to detect potentially precancerous and cancerous processes in the cervix or colon.
Alexander explains, “A pap smear probably takes five minutes at the most. It not painful- not as painful as a bikini wax, it takes less time than a manicure or pedicure and it has a lifetime of benefits. If there is anything wrong it can be identified, located, treated and you survive.”
She insists that women stop taking a casual approach to life and health and take preventative measures.
“So we are again encouraging women to please have a pap smear done if you have not done so in a while. Individuals who are diagnosed with cervical cancer to the extent that it spreads to other organs of the body are always those who have not had a pap smear in many, many years.”
The Cancer Society reminds that your best protection is early detection.