Thu | Jun 8, 2023

Get your Pap smear done!

Published:Wednesday | April 27, 2022 | 12:06 AM

WITH CERVICAL cancer being the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Jamaican women, Pap Smear Week, which is being observed this week, is one of the initiatives aimed at reducing Jamaica’s high rate.

The hope is that every woman over the age of 20 years is inspired to do a Pap smear. “Through its Non-Communicable Disease and Injury Prevention Unit, the Ministry of Health and Wellness views the month’s observance as an opportunity to place a special focus on screening. Screening is about early detection, and early detection saves lives,” Dr Christopher Tufton, Minister of Health and Wellness said.

Screening for cervical cancer usually starts at age 21 and goes up to 64 years, and women at high risk for cervical cancer should have screening done every year. Women at average risk for cervical cancer should have screening done every three years (once each test is normal). Abnormal results warrant more frequent testing and further treatment.

“This year’s communication campaign is a call for action. We really would like our women to be driven, despite any fears, to go and have their Pap smears done. The ministry has packed April 2022’s Cervical Cancer Awareness Month calendar with meaningful media conversations with health experts,” said Dr Nicola Skyers, director of the Non-Communicable Disease and Injury Prevention Unit at the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“A very catchy infomercial crafted by popular consultant OB/GYN Dr Michael Abrahams is in rotation, and compelling digital and on-the-ground conversations are under way. All such initiatives have a singular aim – to educate and motivate,” Dr Skyers added.

Popular vlogger ‘Dutty Berry’ has also joined in the ministry’s effort to inform and encourage Jamaican women to make their appointments to get screened. Dutty Berry will be including cervical cancer information in his popular weekly ‘Top 10 Social Media Countdown’ throughout the month of April.