Health, Wellness, and Elderly Affairs Minister Moses Jn Baptiste has called on women in Saint Lucia to take early action to prevent cervical cancer by doing routine checks and pap smears.
“The early detection of Cervical Cancer is critical and can save the lives of many women in Saint Lucia,” Jn Baptiste explained in a message to mark Cervical Health Awareness Month.
“Data published in 2018, the Caribbean reveals an estimated 4,200 new cervical cancer cases and 2,464 deaths. In Saint Lucia, for the same period, we saw an estimated 15 new cases and 12 deaths,” the Minister disclosed.
But he explained that cervical cancer, while preventable, is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women worldwide and the second most prevalent form of cancer after breast cancer.
According to Jn Baptiste, persistent and chronic exposure to the high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cancer of the cervix.
The Minister said most deaths are preventable by maintaining good cervical health and adopting healthy and lifesaving practices and behaviors.
And he observed that access to vaccines and cervical screening are the most cost-effective public health measures in maintaining good cervical health and reducing cervical cancer’s physical, psychological, and economic burden among women.
The Minister’s complete address appears below: