Jamaica Cancer Society wants Pap smears at work, schools and places of worship
The Jamaica Cancer Society is calling for local organisations to take advantage of an outreach programme it has embarked on to bring Pap smear testing to women inside their various places of work, study, and worship.
Speaking with The Gleaner yesterday at the Webster Memorial United Church in St Andrew following a service marking the commencement of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Yulit Gordon, executive director of the Jamaica Cancer Society, outlined an aim this year to screen roughly 12,000 females for the disease.
"We know that people's lives are difficult because they have busy schedules. Therefore, we encourage organisations, churches, and schools to call us at the Jamaica Cancer Society to schedule an outreach," Gordon said.
"Our team will come to you and provide your women with Pap smear tests. All we require is a private room with an attached bathroom, and we will take our equipment. While we encourage women to go to their doctors and health centres across the island, we want them to take advantage of our outreach programme."
She added: "We are working closely with the Ministry of Health during this month to increase the level of awareness about cervical cancer prevention and its relationship with the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the importance of getting young girls vaccinated against the HPV virus."
EARLY DETECTION KEY
Gordon urged women to show interest in getting Pap smear tests done because it could prove the difference between life and death.
"Early detection is key in fighting cervical cancer. As a matter of fact, early detection remains our best vaccine in the fight against the cancer. If women of Jamaica are doing Pap smears every year, as is recommended, then the test will recognise any abnormalities within the cervix long before these abnormalities develop into cancer. Doing Pap smears every year will definitely keep cervical cancer at bay," she said.
The Gleaner spoke yesterday with a few leaders of organisations who gave the outreach idea a thumbs up and said that they would welcome the initiative.
Grace Baston, principal of Campion College in St Andrew, said: "I don't think we would have any objections. If they could work with the school nurse and provide that kind of service for staff, that would be good."
Pastor Bobby McIntosh of Maranatha Ministries in Waterhouse, St Andrew, said that he definitely would allow it.
John Mahfood, CEO of Jamaica Teas, said: "Absolutely! I think it is a good idea."