Jamaican women between 21 and 55 years of age are being encouraged to do their annual pap smear, in order to facilitate early detection and treatment if cancer is found.
This call forms part of the Jamaica Cancer Society’s (JCS) observance of Cancer Awareness Month in April, under the theme: ‘Screening and a Healthy Lifestyle Practice – Your Best Defence in the Fight against Cancer’.
Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’ on April 3, at the agency’s head office in Kingston, Executive Director of the JCS, Yulit Gordon, said the organization “is seeking to raise its level of awareness of (cervical cancer) and to educate and motivate women who are at risk for this particular type of cancer, to come out and get screened.”
Mrs. Gordon emphasised that the public education campaign during April is used to motivate Jamaican women who have not been doing their Pap smear tests, to get screened immediately.
Cancer Awareness Month, she pointed out, focuses on cervical cancer, which is the second leading cause of death in Jamaican women, aged 45 and older, and noted that approximately 20 out of every 100,000 women are actually diagnosed each year, with another 250 women dying from the disease.
Statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that there is an estimated 500,000 new cases worldwide, and that another 250,000 women die from the cancer each year.
Mrs. Gordon said the campaign will be targeting all women who are at risk for cervical cancer, and that educational sessions will be held each Friday during the month, at the JCS head office, located at 16 Lady Musgrave Avenue in Kingston.
She also advised that customers will be offered a 5 per cent discount on the cost to get their pap smears done on any given Friday during the month of April.
On Sunday, April 14, a Thanksgiving Service will be held at the Swallowfield Chapel in Kingston at 7:00 a.m. There will also be a public lecture on Sunday, April 28 at the New Medical Science building on the grounds of University of the West Indies, Mona.
Messages will also be carried though the social media networks, so that persons can be adequately informed of the importance of the observance, as well as the importance of doing the test.
By Toni-Ann Rankine, JIS Public Relations Officer