Early pap test must for women

National 1 minute, 38 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

WOMEN should get their pap test as soon as they become sexually active to ensure they are not infected with any form of Human Papiloma Virus (HPV), said a consultant gynaecologist at a private practice recently.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection seen amongst women, which can lead to cervical cancer if left untreated, according to Dr Avinash Vadwa who works at a private clinic in Gadong.

Dr Vadwa, who had previously worked at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) hospital for over 20 years, said most women in Brunei tend to only approach doctors when they feel pain or when abnormalities arise.

“I notice that women here usually only approach doctors at a later stage. They should go for their routine checks which is every two years,” she said.

The health expert added that there were some cases where her clients were referred to RIPAS hospital after screening test results showed abnormalities in their cervical cells, or when it was already at its advanced stage.

HPV and Related Diseases Report 2016 showed about 35 new cervical cancer cases are diagnosed in Brunei every year.

According to the report, cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among females in Brunei, after breast cancer.

Dr Vadwa urged Bruneian women who are sexually active to get their pap smear examinations done as a preventive measure.

She said the screening procedure for cervical cancer will be able to test the presence of precancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix, the opening of the uterus.

“It only takes about five to 10 minutes, results don’t take longer than a week,” she said.

The gynaecologist added that women who are sexually active or who has had sexual intercourse can also get Gardasil HPV vaccination, a type of injection that can protect against different types of HPV.

As many as 421 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer between the year 2005 to 2014, according to figures from The Brunei Cancer Centre (TBCC).

The Brunei Times