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Mar 28, 2014

Cervical cancer; the media gets a first-hand training on symptoms and treatment

The plights of many afflicted with various forms of cancer are compelling stories that are often told by survivors of the illness.  While their testimonies focus primarily on coping with the disease, little is said about its cause.  Today, during a Wellness Ambassador Training, hosted by the Belize Cancer Society, News Five’s Duane Moody learned more about cervical cancer.


Duane Moody, Reporting

“Cancer Facts Can Save Lives – Power Up!” The Belize Cancer Society is on a mission to increase cancer knowledge and eliminate myths about the deadly disease. Through a wellness ambassador training held today at the Belize Cancer Society, the organization is trying to stop or even prevent the disease, which has been increasingly affecting both men and children.


Laura Longsworth, President, Belize Cancer Society

Laura Longsworth

“We need to remember that cancer takes a while to develop. So if we adopt healthy lifestyles for the cervix, we can do something about prevention of cervical cancer.  We have other risk factors like our genetic makeup, environmental, lifestyle choices….especially if you have multiple partners you become more at risk to come in contact with these things. So who are at risk for cervical cancer? Your age, especially if your cervix is immature and because we have young people who are having sex so earlier, they are so immature, they haven’t developed so they become more vulnerable in our community.”


Cervical cancer has become the leading cancer in women.  What causes cervical cancer is really not known, however, it is certain that it is transferred through a sexual transmitted infection that affects men, women and children.


Laura Longsworth

“It is important to know that the cervical cancer is closely associated with the infection, Human Papillomavirus, HPV. There is a small percentage, about ten percent of all cancers that are not affiliated with HPV. Strangely enough they are associated with things like tobacco smoke and genetic factors and other things. But we are saying, if we have the pap smear that is available in the public sector—we won’t talk about the private sector because the private sector has it—but the pap smear is available to every woman in Belize in the public sector, free of cost; then that is what we should make sure that everybody knows that they must walk into that health center and get their pap smear. The later stages have to do with bleeding and discomfort during sexual intercourse. Like any cancer, cancer cells undergo changes; they mutate, they become uncontrollable. When you do not have a cancer, even if you do have something there, you have an inflammation or an infection, it doesn’t become a cancer because it can be treated….it hasn’t gone into cancer cells; you will have other symptoms. But the HPV virus and some other factors can produce cervical cancer and you have a proliferation of cancer cells; it overtakes the good cells. And there is no stopping it unless you stop it.”


So how can the media communicate the message of overall wellness, prevention and control of cancer and other diseases? Longsworth says through efforts which include prevention services offered by both public and private sectors.


Laura Longsworth

“We have an idea of the number of persons and the age; the number of adolescents who are engaging in sexual activities at an early age. And if you understand that because you are immature, your immune system is sluggish—not fully developed—you can see how that young person can get into trouble with cervical cancer by the time they are twenty years old, which is sad.”


Prostate cancer and cervical cancer, if detected early, can be managed and in some cased cured. Screening for adults and vaccines for children are available within the country. Duane Moody for News Five.

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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