The Ministry of Health has declared April 24-30 Pap smear week as part of efforts to raise awareness about cervical cancer, now the second leading cause of cancer-related death among Jamaican women.
A pap smear is a medical test that helps identify abnormalities in the cervix that could lead to cancer.
The Ministry of Health hopes that every woman over the age of 20 will be inspired to take a pap smear.
READ: What causes cervical cancer?
“Screening is about early detection and early detection saves lives,” said Minister of Health Dr Christopher Tufton.
About cervical cancer screening
Screening for cervical cancer usually begins at age 21 and extends until age 64.
Women at high risk for cervical cancer should be screened annually.
Women at average risk for cervical cancer should be screened every three years (once each test is normal).
Abnormal results warrant more frequent testing and additional treatment.
Director of the Non-Communicable Disease and Injury Prevention Unit at the Department of Health, Dr Nicola Skyers, said this year’s communications campaign is a call to action.
“We would really like our women to be driven, despite all the fears, to go and get a pap smear,” she said.
The campaign will include promotions through social and mainstream media.