E-petition takes aim at deaths resulting from cervical cancer

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society is calling for the people of Cayman to sign an online Caribbean-wide petition pledging an end to cervical cancer. 

The petition’s central premise is that no woman should die of cervical cancer as more than 95 per cent of cases can be prevented. However, due to a lack of education, political will and the expense of screening and prevention in some countries, many cases are diagnosed too late. 

The petition, launched by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, is available on social media sites, Facebook and Twitter. 

All that is required is a signature, “which will, in this case, be more powerful than money as we stand together with the rest of the Caribbean islands to make this pledge”, said Dr. Sook Yin, medical director of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. 

“We want to get 500,000 signatures and I want to challenge the Cayman Islands to have the most signatures in this pledge,” she added. 

Every year, about 31,700 women in Latin America and the Caribbean die from cervical cancer. 

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition, a civil society alliance set up to combat chronic diseases, recently launched the petition to help raise awareness about the disease in the Caribbean, where cervical cancer is the second leading cause of death among Caribbean women.  

The Caribbean is among the top four highest sub-regions in the world with respect to incidence of cervical cancer and has the highest burden of human papilloma virus, known as HPV, in the Americas. 

“We at the Cayman Islands Cancer Society support the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and the initiative to persuade the Caribbean heads of government to increase the affordability and access of screening for cervical cancer to women of the Caribbean,” said Dr. Yin. “We need your help to move this initiative from idea to reality.” 

“Join us in the fight to prevent unnecessary deaths. Protect our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters,” Dr. Yin said. 

A number of screening and effective prevention and control measures are available to women, including Pap smear tests, HPV testing, vaccination against HPV and use of visual inspection with acetic acid. 

One of the simplest ways of controlling cervical cancer is the Pap test, yet in some countries only one in five women receive Pap tests, according to the Health Caribbean Coalition. Among those women diagnosed with cervical cancer, 50 per cent have never had a Pap test, the coalition pointed out in its petition. From late last year, HPV vaccines have been made available in public high schools in the Cayman Islands. The virus is the leading cause of cervical cancer and is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection.  

The number of cervical cancer cases in Cayman is unknown as information is still being collected in the Cayman Islands Cancer Registry. Once the registry’s database is more complete, a fuller picture of the prevalence of cervical and other types of cancers will be known. 

 

The petition can be signed at www.endcervicalcancernow.org 

Every year, about 31,700 women in Latin America and the Caribbean die from cervical cancer. 

End-cervical-cancer-poster

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition poster calls for an end to cervical cancer.
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