Wow, what a week! I would like to thank all of our blog contributors for taking time out of their busy schedules to share their knowledge, experience and reflections for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. Furthermore, I would like to thank all of you for your engagement this week.
Raising awareness of cervical cancer prevention is very important to me personally. In 2016, just a few months into my nursing degree, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer following an overdue cervical screening (smear test). In the end, I had to have both surgery and chemo and radiotherapy as the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. As a result, I am qualifying a year later after having to take time out for treatment. Besides the impact upon my studies and career, cervical cancer has had a profound impact on my body and mind, and I am left living with multiple side effects of treatment. It is safe to say life isn’t the same after a cervical cancer diagnosis but the treatment was effective, I am free from disease and finally just a few weeks away from becoming a registered nurse.
For me, Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is not about making people feel guilty for overdue screening appointments, or over simplifying the reasons people don’t attend. Rather, it is about considering the barriers that prevent people from attending their cervical screening, understanding the multifaceted issues involved and finding ways to overcome them in partnership with patients. With 9 people being diagnosed and 2 losing their lives to cervical cancer every day, it is clear there is still work to be done. Nurses and nursing students are in a position to address access barriers, improve practice and raise awareness of the importance of cervical screening. So, let’s all commit to making every contact count and discussing cervical and gynaecological health openly and honestly with patients, colleagues, family and friends. In doing so, we just might save a life.
Thank-you all for a fabulous Cervical Cancer Prevention Week!