Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
This month, to mark cervical cancer awareness month, the Tshemba Foundation is raising concern around the risk that women face, due to a lack of routine screening.
“We see a high rate of late-stage cervical cancer diagnosis among women aged 30 and up, but the risk increases considerably for those aged over 40. In general, they are less likely to get the recommended number of pap smears and breast examinations.
“This is because they spend less time in health facilities and have fewer interactions with health services, compared to pregnant women and young mothers who visit clinics and receive regular check-ups, as part of caring for their children. Many of these women often don’t know that they’re supposed to go for routine screenings – especially if they are living with HIV,” says Dr Nicole Fiolet, Women’s Health Project Manager at The Tshemba Foundation.
“With the help of volunteers, we can ensure that there are enough professionals at the hospital to treat those with abnormal pap smears,” says Dr Fiolet.
“We rely on volunteers to administer specialist women’s health services, including screening and treatment, and to ensure that our full-time staff receive up-to-date training. This benefits both individual patients, and the community. In return, volunteers have an opportunity to gain experience by working on difficult cases and connecting with other healthcare professionals from around the world,” says Dr Fiolet.
In 2017, The Tshemba Foundation opened the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic to provide healthcare specifically for women and young girls in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga area. The clinic provides a variety of services including pap smears, cryotherapy, breast ultrasounds, pelvic ultrasounds, abdominal ultrasounds and pregnancy ultrasounds, with the aim of reducing rates of breast and cervical cancer in the area.