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Concern over cervical cancer

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

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Even though cervical cancer is 95 per cent preventable, 31 700 women in the Caribbean and Latin America continue to die from it.
Gynecologic oncologist Dr Vikash Chatrani of the Barbados Cancer Society (BCS), who made this point today, said the major problem was that not enough women were being screened.
“This is something that is preventable; 95 per cent of cervical cancer cases can be prevented. We wonder why this is affecting our women.
“It requires widespread awareness, increased screening and effective prevention and control,” Chatrani said.
He was speaking at the University of the West Indies’ Chronic Disease Research Centre, where the BCS joined with other cancer groups to launch the region-wide Health Caribbean Coalition’s (HCC) regional electronic media petition to get head of government in the Caribbean to increase women’s access to affordable cervical cancer screening.
It was disclosed that the Caribbean was among the top four sub-regions in the world with respect to the incidence of cervical cancer. It is said to have the highest burden of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is indicated as a causation of cervical cancer.  
The aim is to get 500 000 signatures for the petition, which is to be presented to heads of government.
President of the National Organization of Women and the Caribbean Women’s Association Marilyn Rice-Bowen said: “Today is the day we are going to turn the hands [of the clock] back. We are going to change the statistics. As of today the women of the Caribbean are going to be more aware and take better care of ourselves.”
Rice-Bowen also urged women to encourage all females to get tested.
To sign the e-petition, people can visit the Healthy Caribbean Coalition’s Facebook page and click on the e-petition link.  (LK)