Lebanon: Cervical cancer is largely curable – if identified early

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women and, despite being largely curable if detected at an early stage, it continues to claim the lives of many women, especially in developing countries like Lebanon.

In our recent Health in Exile report, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) reported on the challenges to accessing adequate tertiary care which Palestinian refugees in Lebanon face. With early diagnosis so vital to women’s survival chances, access to treatment is only part of the story, however. Providing public health information about the disease, and encouraging women to go for screening, can save lives.

With MAP’s support, local NGO Naba’a recently completed their annual Cervical Cancer Campaign in Ein el Helweh and Rashidyeh camps in Lebanon. This campaign comes as part of a comprehensive Reproductive Health programme in partnership with MAP that integrates health promotion and advice with clinical services, working to improve the health and wellbeing of Palestinian women.

The campaign focused on health education about cervical cancer, its symptoms, and the importance of routine cervical screening and early detection.

“Most women who attended the campaign’s activities had never heard of cervical cancer and its signs and symptoms, or how to test for it!” said the campaign coordinator.

The campaign included public talks at community centres, sharing of educational materials on social media. Naba’a also offered free consultations, screening, and pap-smear tests. “No women should die because of cervical cancer,” added the campaign coordinator. “We need to continue to remind women of the importance of routine screening.”

Around 340 women participated in the activities in both camps. Participants appreciated the information provided and many women sought consultations with the project’s gynecologists following the sessions. Participants asked MAP and Naba’a to continue organising the annual Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer campaigns “to remind mothers that their health is a priority too”.

If you would like to support MAP’s work in Lebanon, please consider making a donation today!

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