Prevent and Detect Cervical Cancer in Guatemala

 
$10,478
$4,522
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WINGS Educator talks to Teresa and another patient
WINGS Educator talks to Teresa and another patient

Teresa, 27, is from the small town of San Pedro Las Huertas. Recently, WINGS held a cervical cancer detection and prevention session in the community´s health center. This includes a talk about the causes, risks and methods of prevention of cervical cancer, as well as detection at a subsidized price using the VIA/Cryo method which provides in the moment results. 

For Teresa, WINGS’ educational talk was “eye opening.”  Before, she says that she had not heard exactly cervical cancer was caused.  She now understands the relationship between the human papilloma virus (HPV) and the disease.  She also learned that one of the risk factors is heredity, which really caught her attention. 

Teresa´s sister María, 33, was diagnosed with cervical cancer two years ago.  Teresa saw how she suffered, and not only from physical pain.  María also faced the difficulty of consulting doctors who were not familiar with the disease.  She visited various doctors who continued to tell her that she had a vaginal infection and only prescribed her antibiotic pills and creams.  Finally, she found a doctor who realized the true cause of her problem and got the appropriate medical treatment.  Her sister is now healthy, but her family is struggling with the debt brought on by paying for the operation, which cost around US$1300.

Because of how her sister suffered, Teresa has been scared to get tested.  Her mother has been encouraging her to take this step for her own well being, but Teresa admits, if WINGS had not come to her community the day of the clinic, she probably would have continued to agonize over whether or not to get tested. Luckily, she was tested the day of the WINGS clinic and had no abnormalities. 

Teresa had a message for the donors who make WINGS’ work possible.  She says, “May God bless them and their families for the contributions they make.  In my community, we are experiencing economic problems which would make these services too expensive without their help

Teresa was happy to know her test was negative
Teresa was happy to know her test was negative

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Antonia received an unpleasant surprise when she attended one of WINGS’ cervical cancer screenings in her home town of Ciudad Quetzal in May.  She had an abnormal growth on her cervix.  At the clinic, WINGS subsidized her same day cryotherapy treatment, which destroys abnormal cellular growth that can lead to cancer .  After further tests, however, the diagnosis was bleak.  Antonia’s cancer had progressed too far for simple sameday clinical treatments to have an effect, and she would have to begin chemotherapy.

At only 23 years old and with one child, Antonia could not fathom how she had developed her cancer at such a young age, but she is determined to continue fighting it.  Thanks to the early detection from the WINGS screening, and continued support through referrals and subsidized care, Antonia is confident that she will be able to beat her cancer.

For more information about WINGS' Cervical Cancer Prevention program, visit http://wingsguate.org/en/whatwedo/cervicalcancer

Links:

Routine screenings can save the lives of women
Routine screenings can save the lives of women

Elizabeth, a 43 year-old mother of five, recently attended a WINGS cervical cancer screening clinic in her community of Xenocoj, where she tested positive for pre-cancerous cells. It had been four years since her last test because her family had been supporting her through a chronic kidney infection and simply could not afford to take her to be screened. Her eldest son left school when she got sick to support her as a day laborer, but the family still struggles to stay afloat.

Elizabeth’s physical and financial troubles meant that her positive test result came as an even bigger blow to the family. They were very afraid to watch her suffer a second debilitating illness - this time potentially fatal.

WINGS referred her to a specialist for further tests, supporting her financially and emotionally through the process, and it was decided that cryotherapy would be her best option. The treatment that she received ended the threat of cancer, and now Elizabeth is living cancer-free!

For more information about WINGS' Cervical Cancer Prevention program, visit http://wingsguate.org/en/whatwedo/cervicalcancer

Monica, 27, grew up in Guatemala City’s main dump and has never made it out. Today she works there pulling discarded perfumes out from the trash to sell on. Doing this means Monica is just able to feed herself, but has never had enough for health-care. She heard that a WINGS Cervical Cancer clinic was coming to her neighborhood and recalled a Pap-Smear she had years ago with a different organization: she never got the result back. Monica worried she was at risk of having HPV (Human papillomavirus) as she was raped when she was 20 by an unknown man.  

She decided to go the WINGS clinic and after some counseling got a Rapid Test for Cervical Cancer where she able to get her result within a minute. Unfortunately, her test revealed abnormal cell growth on her cervix. Monica was very frightened and the cancer was more advanced than WINGS' own Cryotherapy treatment can cure. But our nurse secured her an appointment with a specialist from the National Cancer Institute that same day so Monica began treatment within days. WINGS supported her through this and Monica has since made a great recovery. She is determined to get future checks with WINGS to make sure she stays in the clear.

Without this test, Monica would not have realized she was developing Cervical Cancer until it was too late. In fact, in Guatemala Uterine Cancer is the leading cause of Cancer related deaths in Guatemala even though it is highly treatable if detected early. With your support more women like Monica can get low-cost, reliable and rapid tests and treatment through WINGS.

WINGS nurse explains Cervical Cancer at a clinic
WINGS nurse explains Cervical Cancer at a clinic

Amanda’s sister persuaded her to tag along to a WINGS clinic in their community near Patzun. Despite being sexually active since marrying six years ago, 27-year old Amanda had never thought to get a cervical cancer test. At the WINGS’ mobile clinic she listened to a short talk explaining what cervical cancer is, risk factors, symptoms, and treatment and decided to get tested. She was pleased that the Via/Cryo techniques WINGS uses produce immediate results and same-day treatment if necessary. As this was all very new to her, Amanda was utterly shocked to learn that she had pre-cancerous cells. Our nurse and educator, Flori, explained the need for urgent treatment and Amanda opted for cryotherapy to tackle the cancer that very afternoon. This treatment has a success rate of 85-90% and Amanda’s experience was no exception. She is now healthy and plans to attend regular checkups in the future with her sister.

 WINGS' Nurse Flori (who treated Amanda) commented that, “for numerous economic and cultural reasons it can be hard to get women out of the house and into our mobile clinics. It’s important that they are educated in the risks they face and in how to seek reliable testing and treatment”.

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Organization

WINGS

Antigua, N/A, Guatemala
http://www.wingsguate.org

Project Leader

Sally Parmelee

Development Coordinator
Antigua, Sacatapequez Guatemala

Where is this project located?

Map of Prevent and Detect Cervical Cancer in Guatemala