Prevent cervical cancer by doing the PAP test! Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2019

Dozens of women, health specialists, social workers and official representatives launched the Cervical Cancer Prevention Week 2019. The event was organized at the Health Center in Magdaceşti, with the purpose of informing local women about cervical cancer and disseminating the myths surrounding the disease.

Cervical cancer is one of diseases affecting women, which can be easily prevented by vaccination against Human papillomavirus (HPV) in adolescence and cervical screening (Pap smear) every three years between 25 and 61 years. Performing this test in Moldova is free of charge at the family doctor.

"It’s a tragedy today, to have women dying because of a disease that can easily be prevented. I urge all women to go to the doctor, do the Pap smear (test) and make sure they are healthy. Likewise, I encourage all mothers to vaccinate girls against HPV, starting from 10 years, providing them with a strong immunity against cervical cancer in the future," mentioned State Secretary General Boris Gîlca.

"The Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices (KAP) Study on Cervical Cancer Prevention", released recently in the Republic of Moldova, shows that more than half of women aged 25-61 years in our country never performed a cervical screening test. Most women never took the test because of fear, lack of time or not knowing where to address.

"UNFPA in Moldova supports such information campaigns at the local level and open conversations with women in order to combat these perceptions and attitudes. We urge all partners, civil society, the medical community, but also men and women, to join the fight against cervical cancer as this disease can be prevented," said Rita Columbia, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative in Moldova.

"When we talk about cervical cancer prevention, international experience shows that vaccination and cervical screening programmes are most effective, so women can prevent this type of cancer or treat it successfully if necessary," mentioned Caroline Tissot, Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in the Republic of Moldova.

Two women with positive stories who managed to prevent cervical cancer participated at the event. Natalia Palade has four children and is from Donduseni. "I thought this disease could not affect me because I gave birth to four children and I was ashamed to address my doctor. When I did the test, I was diagnosed with precancerous lesions, which were treated. That saved my life," the woman says.

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is organized by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Social Protection, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the Swiss Cooperation Office (SDC) and "Life without Cancer" NGO.

Throughout the Cancer Prevention Month, central and local public authorities, jointly with health care institutions, educational institutions and development partners, will conduct a series of communication, information and awareness-raising campaigns on the importance of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cervical cancer.

Medical information about HPV vaccination and cervical screening will be available at primary healthcare providers, police, bus stations and airport. Public cinemas will screen videos about cervical cancer prevention.

Companies and factories where the majority of workers are women will hold cervical cancer informative seminars on preventive measures. Meanwhile, health workers will hold informative sessions for women and young people in rural areas within the community libraries, Youth Friendly Centers and Maternal Centers.

In 2018, about 360 women from Moldova were diagnosed with cervical cancer, 160 died from this disease and more than 4,000 are registered at the family doctor.