NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (January 25, 2022) — The Community Nursing Services in the Ministry of Health on Nevis is appealing to those who have never had a pap smear done to do so at the 5th annual Cervical Cancer Awareness outreach event at all heath centres on Saturday, January 29, 2022 from 8 a.m. to noon.
Ms. Shevanee Nisbett, Senior Health Educator, while speaking of the planned event on January 25, 2022, noted that it forms part of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month which is observed during the month of January.
“We are encouraging persons to get screened for cervical cancer and this takes place in the form of a pap smear, and we are encouraging persons to take part in our screening… This year we are encouraging those who’ve never had a pap smear done and especially those younger persons. We are targeting the younger population to get a pap smear.
“There are some persons who are of the notion that if you don’t have a child or if you are not as sexually active as you think you should be to get a pap smear, that you don’t need to get a pap smear, but we’re encouraging persons who’ve never had a pap smear before. Even if you consider yourself an older person and you’ve never had a pap smear before, we are asking that you come and get your pap smears done,” she said, adding that persons who get their tests done every year are also welcome.
According to Ms. Nisbett, cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable forms of cancer once it is detected early and managed effectively and up to three percent of cervical cancers are preventable through screening.
She described the cervix as the narrow part of the uterus which connects the main body of the uterus to the vagina and in order to try to prevent cervical cancer, health officials on Nevis always encourage females to get their pap smears done.
Ms. Nisbett reminded the public that outside of the annual outreach programme, pap smears are available free of cost at health centres across the island throughout the year.
“We offer pap smears at the clinics all week, every week and we have a particular schedule:
“So at Brown Hill Health Centre we offer pap smears on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.; the Gingerland Health Centre on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.; the Butlers Health Centre on Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; the Combermere Health Centre on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; the Cotton Ground Health Centre on Mondays from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and at Charlestown Health Centre on Fridays from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.,” she said.
Persons who plan to have a pap smear done should avoid having sexual intercourse 72 hours or at least three days before; avoid douching or using any vaginal medicines or spermicidal foams, creams or jellies for 24 hours before having a pap smear; and should not schedule a pap smear during a menstrual period. Instead, the test should be scheduled one week on completion of a menstrual period.
The Senior Health Educator also referred to the success of the outreach programme so far.
“The screening has been quite successful over the past few years. We started in 2017 and every year since then, we have had an increase in the number of persons that come to get screened. We did have a dip in 2020, and of course this is because of COVID-19 but it increased again in 2021. So we are asking that it increase some more this year that we have more persons come out to get screened.
“Even though you might have little rumours saying it’s uncomfortable and all of that, this is something that you should get done. It is not as uncomfortable as you think and it’s over in less than two minutes. It’s important to get it done and this is something we can do to save a life. So we encourage everybody to get screened for cervical cancer,” she said.