World Cancer Day (February 4) gives a chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease. Building upon the success of last year, World Cancer Day 2014 focuses on Target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration: Reduce stigma and dispel myths about cancer, under the tagline “Debunk the myths.”
When it comes to cervical cancer prevention, Grounds for Health is committed to dispelling the four major myths of cancer:
Myth 1: We Don’t Need to Talk about Cervical Cancer
Through Grounds for Health community health promoter trainings, local leaders learn not only the importance of cervical cancer prevention, but also how to talk about it with their friends, neighbors and peers. It’s essential to open a clear and accurate dialog not only among women, but also among their families, husbands and brothers.
I’ve spoken a lot with my wife Mayra and children about the importance of the project. We feel like it has united us as a family and improved communication between us, because—even sometimes with families, between partners, between a husband and wife—it’s difficult to talk about our private parts. In our case, this project brought us closer together as a family. Now we can comment on our bodies, our privates like they are any other part of the body part, like my eye, my face, or my mouth. And that has been a great achievement. I think it has been a great achievement for the family, not only with my wife but also with my two children. – Marlon Villareyna, excerpt from Most Significant Change
Myth 2: Cervical Cancer … There Are No Signs or Symptoms
While there are telltale signs of cervical cancer, it is an extremely slow developing disease, which creates a unique opportunity for effective prevention. Grounds for Health specializes in the Single Visit Approach, where a woman can be screened and treated for pre-cancer in one day. If she shows signs of cancer, she is immediately referred for follow-up testing and care.
Myth 3: There is Nothing I Can Do About Cervical Cancer
Prevention is power. Once women, men and families understand the importance of cervical cancer prevention, they realize the control is in their hands.
My personal challenge is to educate people in the community about the importance of early screening, to give people the opportunity to get screened, and to use the single-visit approach whenever possible. The most important lesson is that if we want we can work to prevent deaths from cervical cancer with a very simple method. A very inexpensive method, that is very effective and widely available. – Yamila Rivero Osorio, nurse and local Grounds for Health trainer
Myth 4: I Don’t Have the Right to Cervical Cancer Care
Simply put: no woman should die from cervical cancer. It’s time to elevate the importance of women’s health around the world: healthy women make for a healthy planet. Cervical cancer is a 100% preventable disease that we have the tools and power to stop. Access to effective cervical cancer screening is key, and at health conferences and think tanks around the world, Grounds for Health advocates for the “woman at the end of the road.” We share our lessons learned and show global health leaders the importance of community mobilization and involvement at all stages of program development.
At Grounds for Health, our mission and passion is to dispel these myths and to ensure all women live free from the burdens of cervical cancer.