Sun | Jul 21, 2019

Sagicor offers free cervical cancer screening for cardholders

Published:Monday | April 29, 2019 | 12:28 AM
Pap smear screening is effective in preventing cervical cancer
Pap smear screening is effective in preventing cervical cancer

Jamaica’s largest health insurer, Sagicor Life Jamaica, has announced free Pap smear screenings for its health cardholders.

Sagicor says the free screenings are being offered today, April 29, and tomorrow, April 30, at the company’s Paramedic Unit at its head office on Barbados Avenue in New Kingston.

The free screenings form part of the insurance firm’s activities to observe Cancer Awareness Month.

Persons without Sagicor health cards will also be able to access screenings at a discounted cost.

Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Jamaican women between the ages of 30 and 50 years. The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), transmitted primarily via sexual contact, is responsible for 90 per cent of all cervical cancers.

Shullian Brown, public relations officer at the Jamaica Cancer Society, said late-stage diagnosis is not only painful, but costs millions of dollars to treat, and so women are being encouraged to do regular screenings for early detection and treatment of abnormal cell changes.

“Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, so it is important to have your Pap smear done each year. We have joined with Sagicor Life on this initiative because that is the message we want to get out there,” Brown said.

According to Carol Lawrence, vice-president of group insurance, Sagicor Life, the health insurer is very keen on playing its role in raising awareness about the importance of early detection in the fight against cervical cancer.

“At Sagicor, we are committed to supporting our clients’ overall well-being and health goals, and as such, from time to time, we will offer free screenings for varying health checks to help ease the financial burden that can come with doing health-related tests,” Lawrence said.

Registration for Pap smear screenings will start at 9:00 a.m. on both days and will end at 3:00 p.m.

Five fast facts about Cervical Cancer

1. Second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Jamaican women between 30 and 50 years old

2. HPV is the number one cause

3. No early warning signs

4. Most cases are preventable

5. Smoking increases risk