Cancer of the cervix is common in Jamaica.
In fact, according to the world’s Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Centre 2021 fact sheet, the condition ranks as the third most frequent cancer among women in Jamaica and the second most frequent among women between 15 and 44 years of age.
The cervix is the lower part of the uterus (womb) that opens into the vagina (birth canal). Most cases of cervical cancer are associated with HPV, which is sexually transmitted by skin to skin contact.
According to the Ministry of Health’s Non-communicable and Injury Prevention and Control website, screening for cervical cancer is important for monitoring the health of the cervix and detecting any abnormal changes in the cells of the cervix that could later lead to cancer.
The two main screening tests are Pap smears and the HPV test. Done regularly, these tests can detect abnormalities early, and patients can be referred for treatment. It is recommended that these screening tests start at the age of 21 years for women in Jamaica, the ministry said.
Check out this week’s Talking Health in Five as obstetrician-gynaecologist/gynaecologic oncologist Dr Natalie Medley of the University Hospital of the West Indies talks to Loop News, about five things to know about Pap smear.
You can also get additional information on cervical cancer and pap smears at the Ministry of Health’s NCD website.
Video shot and edited by Marlon Reid