NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (JANUARY 12, 2015) — The Ministry of Health on Nevis is urging women who are or have been sexually active to take advantage of its Pap Smear Drive for the occasion of Cervical Cancer Month observed in January.
According to the Ministry of Health, the drive is being held in conjunction with the Health Promotion Unit. The activity is part of the ministry’s efforts to save lives through early detection.
Health Educator Shevanee Nisbett said the drive targets sexually-active women who have never had a Pap smear or have not done one in the last three to five years.
However, if a woman has never been sexually active but displays the symptoms including irregular bleeding, vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor they should contact their personal physician or health centre to speak with a nurse to schedule a Pap smear.
The test is available throughout the year at health centres. They are conducted free of charge by a nurse.
Between 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Pap smears can be done at the Charlestown Health Centre on Fridays, at the Brown Hill and Gingerland Health Centres on Thursdays and at the Butlers and Combermere Health Centres on Wednesdays. Residents of the Cotton Ground area will be facilitated at the Charlestown Health Centre.
Cervical Cancer occurs in the cells of the cervix (the lower part of a woman’s uterus). A Pap smear is used to screen for cervical cancer. During the test a health practitioner takes cells from the cervix to send to the lab to determine whether they are normal, pre-cancerous or cancerous.
A Pap smear is an important tool in identifying and stopping the spread of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Deaths from cervical cancer has decreased throughout the world as a result of screening programmes such as pap smears.