Fourth-year nursing students Laura Dyble and Sarah Smaha want to make sure that women have every chance possible to get screened for cervical cancer.
Clinics have been set up at CNC and UNBC this month so that students can have check-ups at a time and place that is convenient for them.
“A lot of students, especially the ones from out of town, have no health care practitioners here and it’s hard to find new family doctors so they don’t know where to go to get their pap smears,” said Dyble.
“It’s also hard for students to schedule appointments with their class schedules. We want to make it easier and more accessible to get check-ups, that’s why the clinics have been set up.”
Tuesday and Wednesday, the pair set up booths with information pamphlets at both the college and university campuses. They hope to raise awareness about how deadly and how preventable this form of cancer is.
“We know that cervical cancer is the second most deadly cancer for women and that it is 100 per cent preventable,” said Dyble, listing the following facts:
HPV is a sexually transmitted infection most prevalent in the age 15-24 year old population.
HPV causes both genital warts and cervical cancer. It is transmitted by skin to skin contact.
By age 59, 80 per cent of the population will have been exposed to HPV and the worst thing abut HPV is that it is the leading cause of cervical cancer.
Although the statistics are not yet in for 2009, an estimated 146 B.C. women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 52 will die of it. One in 177 females is expected to develop cervical during their lifetime and one in 504 females is expected to die of cervical cancer.
“We want to raise awareness about cervical cancer, HPV and the importance of getting routine pap tests,” said Dyble.
“The biggest thing about cervical cancer is that it is preventable. Women continue to be diagnosed and die in Canada from cervical cancer, and had they received routine pap tests their chances of finding (and treating) abnormal cells in the beginning stages is much greater.”
Dyble and Smaha work in collaboration with the B.C. Cancer Agency, faculty members at UNBC and Health and Wellness clinics at both CNC and UNBC.
Their work follows a 2009 survey conducted by fourth-year students trying to find out how many students get routine pap tests and what the barriers are to receiving the service.
“From this study we came to the conclusion that in order to meet the needs of our population in focus we have to provide convenient times and locations for students to be screened,” said Dyble.
The clinics will run both week days and weekends with trained female practitioners (the study also showed a preference for female practitioners.)
Clinics at UNBC run March 20 and 29 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. At CNC the clinics will run March 13 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sign up at the Health and Wellness Centre at UNBC (250-960-6369) or CNC (250-562-2131 ext. 5301) and put your name in for spa-themed prizes donated by sponsors including Trend Setters, Special Beauty Parlor, Shhh, Ms Lorea’s School of Esthetics and more.