GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Cervical cancer is a noncommunicable disease (NCDs) NCDs also include heart disease, respiratory disease, and other cancers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), NCDs currently cause seven out of 10 deaths around the world.
Cancer of the cervix is a disease caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). It is preventable and curable. Cervical cancer is a leading cause of death among women in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
PAHO says that over 72,000 women in the Americas were diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2018, and 34,000 died from the disease.
“The majority (83%) of the region’s cervical cancer cases are in Latin America and the Caribbean, where cervical cancer ranks as the second-leading cause of cancer among women of all ages.
“Cervical cancer death rates are four times higher in Latin America and the Caribbean than in North America, highlighting inequities in health,” PAHO said.
The Collective Prevention Service (CPS) a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), as part of its annual calendar of awareness, its focus is on cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer can be prevented in adult women if precancerous lesions are identified through screening and then treated. Vaccination against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can reduce significatively the risk of cervical cancer.
PAHO recommends vaccinating girls from nine to 14 years-old, when it is more effective. HPV vaccines are available at CPS and parents/guardians can inquire for any additional information related to the vaccination.
The vast majority of NCD deaths can be prevented using WHO’s tried and tested NCD Best Buy interventions. These include cost effective measures to reduce tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol, improve diets, increase physical activity, reduce risks from cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, and prevent cervical cancer.
Keeping people healthy reduces health costs, increases productivity, and leads to longer and healthier lives.