In the rich world, regular screening and early intervention has practically eliminated cervical cancer fatalities. Yet, cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women in Guatemala. Risk factors include limited or irregular screening, giving birth to many children, early initiation of sexual relationships, poor nutrition, and unfaithful partners.
Partner for Surgery’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Program has two objectives:
- Provide information, screening and treatment to impoverished Guatemalan women;
- Attract more women and children to our Mobile Medical Missions.
Utilizing the Visual Inspection by Acetic Acid (VIAA) method, a women’s cervix is visually inspected with an acetic (vinegar) wash. If white lesions are present, cell-freezing cryotherapy treatment is administered immediately and within weeks, healthy cells replace those that have been affected by the human papilloma virus, and no further treatment is needed.
Especially in impoverished areas like rural Guatemala, the VIAA/Cryotherapy is a good alternative to the Pap smear test as it cuts the lengthy process of the Pap smear test down to one visit, with the exam and treatment being available at the same time.
To increase the sustainability of this program, we collaborate with the Guatemalan Ministry of Health to train their nurses in the VIAA/Cryotherapy method.
Within a short period of time, the Cervical Cancer Screening Program has proven to be very successful. We perform the VIAA method during every Mobile Medical Mission, and thousands of women have received cervical cancer screenings. Countless lives have been saved.