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Jul 3, 2013

The cancer that can be prevented

There are silent killers that affect our region: HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer are among the top causes. But there is a particular cancer that is affecting young women that are part of the productive sector. News Five Isani Cayetano reports on the efforts to combat the cancer that is spread through sexual transmission.


A petition to amass as many as half a million signatures from people across the Caribbean, in an effort to raise awareness at the parliamentary level concerning female mortality, as a result of cervical cancer was launched in Belize City today.  Death from this form of malignant tumor, primarily caused by HPV, or human papilloma virus, is avoidable.  In Belize, as in other countries within the region, detection using a pap smear to identify potentially harmful changes in cervical cells and tissue is seldom exploited.


Joan BurkeJoan Burke, Exec. Dir., Belize Family Life Association

“Only twenty percent or less than twenty percent of those persons who should access a pap smear is accessing that service.  The reports out of the Caribbean indicates that fifty percent of women diagnosed with cervical cancer have never done a pap smear, and Belize is no different.  Fifty percent of those women who are diagnosed.  Other screening includes visual inspection with acetic acid is a simple procedure which can be provided to women who live in the most hard to reach communities.  Those are services that we must provide.”


With a morbidity rate that is highest in the Americas, the Caribbean is saddled with HPV.  Ironically, ninety-five percent of all cases involving cervical cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related losses, can be prevented.  The objective of this electronic appeal is to draw attention to its overwhelming impact.


Diane Finnegan, Vice President, Belize Cancer SocietyDiane Finnegan

“The e-petition seeks to obtain five hundred thousand signatures from people in Belize and across the Caribbean which will be presented to the Caribbean heads of government and ministers of health, including Belize.  Cervical cancer can be prevented but for this to happen it requires widespread awareness, increased screening and effective prevention and control measures.”


The Belize Cancer Society, in association with Healthy Caribbean Coalition and Cancer Societies of the Caribbean are now turning to government to champion the cause of eradication.  It begins, according to Joan Burke, Executive Director of the Belize Family Life Association, with determination.


Joan Burke

“What we need to do as a society is, we look at our political will.  The launch of this e-petition today is significant because we must hold our governments in the region responsible.  We must ensure increased awareness.  We can no longer be afraid or ashamed to discuss the facts about sexual development, anatomy, sexual hygiene, responsible decisions regarding sexual behaviors and choices with our adolescent boys and girls and with persons whom we are engaged in sexually.”


There are approximately thirty-one thousand, seven hundred women in Latin America and the Caribbean, who die from cervical cancer annually, a majority of whom live in low and middle income communities.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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2 Responses for “The cancer that can be prevented”

  1. ang says:

    Next they will force female students to have to take the hpv vaccine like in the U S. If it were voluntary that would be best. Some kids cannot take these vaccine that is not published adhd and autism and other side effects happen. More research needed to see how kids react to these dont guinea pig chn.

  2. anewvoice says:

    Ang- Please get your facts straight before spreading propaganda. The United States of America has not mandated the HPV vaccine. There are several states that HAVE mandated (or force as you state) however the US is not forcing female students to have to take the hpv vaccine. I hate when people take the actions of a few states and say all of the US is doing it. Like really? And some illiterate piece of turd will spread it like gospel. Such a shame.

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