Following women’s month in August, cervical cancer month is in September. To celebrate women taking better care of themselves, Right to Care a non-profit organisation that offers prevention, care, and treatment for HIV, TB, cervical cancer, medical male circumcision and sexually transmitted infections is holding a women’s health day at Helen Joseph Hospital, Perth Road, Westdene, Johannesburg on Thursday, 3 September 2015 from 9am – 2pm.
A range of free services are offered including pap smears, breast exams, blood pressure and glucose checks.
Dr Bridgette Goeieman, Cervical Cancer Programme Manager of Right to Care explains that, “Cervical Cancer is the most prevalent cancer for women in South Africa. The stats are terrible - one in 26 women will get it! But it is also the most preventable cancer. If you are HIV positive, you are five times more at risk. Cervical cancer can be detected early by having a pap smear and then it can be treated very quickly and easily. We are very concerned about sexually active women who are bread winners for their families. It is so tragic to see women like this suffering and dying from a disease that is entirely preventable. We encourage women to take care of themselves and to attend this free healthcare day.”
Women should have a pap smear from age 30 if HIV negative and every year if HIV positive. Risk factors for cervical cancers include having sex at an early age, sexually transmitted diseases especially HIV, having multiple partners, smoking, using oral contraception from a young age and having an unhealthy diet low on fruit and vegetables.
There are often no symptoms for cervical cancer and that is why it is necessary to have regular pap smears.
If there are any abnormalities detected on the day, further investigation will take place immediately. “We hope to save the lives of a number of women on Thursday, 3 September at our women’s health day at Helen Joseph Hospital,” concludes Dr Goeieman.
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