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Women answering health check call

Women answering health check call

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by Viclene Matthews 28.MAR.08

Women of Stubbs and surrounding areas answered the call to be screened for cervical cancer by turning out in their numbers bright and early last Thursday, March 19, at the Stubbs Health Centre.{{more}}

The screening day, which was part of Hawkins Nanton’s “Operation Save our Sisters” Cervical Cancer Awareness Campaign, was termed by Family Planning Co-ordinator Naomi Prince “a success”. She told Searchlight that there was a “good response” and a large turn out.

Prince said that before the women took the test, there was a teaching session which covered topics such as what is a pap smear, who should have the test done and what do the results mean.

She said the women were “receptive and asked questions”.

It is important for women, once becoming sexually active, to be screened for cervical cancer, Prince stated. The Ministry of Health is also on a drive to get older women to have their pap smear done. According to Prince, the elderly women believe that because they are no longer sexually active there is no need for them to get screened. “We need to erase that myth,” she said.

The Co-ordinator urged women not to indulge in any sexual activity for at least two days prior to the test. The use of creams and powders is discouraged. Prince said these could mask the smear.

Carmlita Enville, whose palms were sweating profusely while waiting to get screened, said that nine years ago, when she took the test, it was painful for her. She said she decided to get tested again to find out if she has cancer, “Because me family them is cancer people”.

When she emerged from the clinic, Enville was calm and relaxed. When asked if the test was painful, with a smile on her face, she said no. She told Searchlight that she would do the test again when necessary.

Eunice Woodley, who also took the test, said that it was painful for her because “A long time me na do nutten”. She said she took the test to find out if she has cervical cancer, and “me know cancer plenty painful, that is why me seek to have (the test)”.

Woodley said that she encouraged some young women in her community to do the test, but they said “Them ha them man, they can’t come,” she said.

Meanwhile, Julia George said the procedure was “pain free and not uncomfortable” and encouraged persons to get tested.

Staff nurse at the Stubbs Health Centre, Beverly McNicholls, also thought the response was good and the campaign a success. McNicholls said that although Pap smear tests are performed weekly, “The campaign has created awareness”. She said they were catering for 50 women because of the clinic’s bed capacity and staff. By the end of the day, they had screened 38 women.

Staff nurse Mc Nicholls stated that the women informed her that they are now more aware of pap smear screening because of messages they received from the media.

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