National pap smear registry in the works
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE Ministry of Health will soon be setting up a National Pap Smear Registry as a more convenient method of conducting pap smear checkups in the prevention and control of cancer.
During the Symposium on Cancer Prevention at the Ministry of Finance yesterday, Minister of Health Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Suyoi Hj Osman said the registry would tentatively be based at the Health Promotion Centre.
Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi said that cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women after breast and lung cancer.
In light of this, he said that part of the objective in forming the National Pap Smear Registry is to provide accurate information on population-based data for women who are eligible for pap smears.
The registrar will also be sending reminders to patients when their pap smear checkups are due and work with hospitals, health centres and clinics to help ensure follow-up tests are done, particularly for any cervical abnormalities.
A detail of patient history of medical results to assist healthcare providers and pathology laboratories will also be part of the registrar's role.
Most importantly, he said, the registrar will assist in providing a better understanding of cervical abnormalities, its prevention and effective treatment.
Citing statistics for the year 2008, the minister said that out of 201 deaths, 19.4 per cent (39 deaths) were due to liver, cervix and stomach cancer; three types of cancer that are associated with infections and can be prevented.
In fact, lung cancer is also a preventable cancer that took the number one spot, with about 50 deaths, the minister said.
"Through the statistics, it can clearly be seen that about 44.3 per cent of the deaths caused by cancer in the year 2008 in Brunei could have been prevented," he said.
The minister urged individuals to carry the responsibility of their health more effectively and efficiently through their own initiative in cancer prevention.
"The risk of getting cancer can be reduced through vaccination, regular physical activity, eating healthily, reducing sun exposure and avoiding tobacco," he said.
"I call upon the public to utilise the service the ministry has made available, such as screening programmes for cancer, especially those for cervical cancer," Pehin Dato Hj Suyoi added.
The minister also advised individuals who have a history of cancer to get themselves screened.
He further urged those in the health profession to continue highlighting risk factors of cancer. "We need to send a very clear message. The risks for cancer are cumulative and takes years to develop," he said.
The Brunei Times