Fri | Oct 20, 2017

Family members join together for cervical screening

Published:Saturday | February 27, 2016 | 12:00 AMTamara Bailey
Muriel Martin, left, and her daughter-in-law. Anisha Farquharson.
Valda Spurgeon, from left, her sister Janet Spurgeon and cousin Hyacinth Spurgeon.
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Mandeville, Manchester

Hundreds of women turned up at the St Marks Anglican Church in the parish on Tuesday, February 23, for the Mass Cervical Cancer Outreach Screening, put on by the Southern Regional Health Authority. Important though, several of those in attendance were actually relatives who decided to make the trip a family affair.

Family & Religion met up with Valda Spurgeon, her sister, Janet and cousin, Hyacinth Spurgeon, who expressed that this screening was necessary as cancer is prevalent in her family

"Cancer is prevalent and it is better to find out from early whether you have it or not. I have had three aunts who have died from cancer and I am ensuring with this screening that I don't have it, and even if I have it, we can find out at an early stage so something can be done about it. It is my first time attending something like this and so and I am glad I made it here because I am now tasked with informing those I come in contact with."

Janet, who travelled approximately 30 minutes to get to the venue, said it is important for her to be informed and then to share her knowledge with those who were unable to make it.

"It is so important to be here because I have had so many persons who have died in the family from cancer; it is best to know from now if I have cervical cancer - early detection is key. I would want every family to be serious about their well being and capitalise on these initiatives."

She added, "I want to thank the organiser's of this event, because had it not been for them, many of us wouldn't be able to do a screening."

With several women already living with this dreaded disease, some with knowledge and others without, Hyacinth expressed that the burden is made lighter with a support system.

"It is not the easiest thing to hear that you have cancer, but if I were told that today, I would have to prepare myself and pray to Almighty God. He is the only help that we truly have especially if it has gone bad. I would come to find out it is not the end of the world but with God on my side I would be able to press through."

Similar to the Spurgeons, Muriel Martin and her daughter-in-law, Anisha Farquharson, felt it necessary to make the outreach screening programme a priority.

"My grandmother did not have cervical cancer, but she had bone cancer and the experience was heart-wrenching for me. I lived with her at the time and I had to care for her. My bigger sister and I had to take her to the doctor two to three times per week and it was challenging. What made it even more difficult was that she died right in my arms," expressed Farquharson.

Martin, who watched her father in anguish as he suffered through the pains associated with prostate cancer, said her wish is for everyone to know their status.

"Many times, we have things going on in our bodies and we don't experience any sign or symptoms. But a test shows it. Opportunities like these make treatment possible if there is a problem."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com