Cervical cancer in Haiti is the leading cause of cancer death in women. An estimated 1,500 women in Haiti die per year – a number that only reflects known cancer. Many more suffer in silence or without knowledge. To date, Haitian women die at a rate that is 50 times more than the United States. When caught in early stages, cervical cancer is completely treatable. Lack of medical infrastructure, limited resources and poor access results in many unnecessary deaths.
As part of our Women’s Health Initiative, Community Empowerment is working with Dr. Fiquita St, Paul to detect and treat cervical cancer. Recently, CE funded a one-week training, where Dr. St. Paul learned colposcopy, direct visualization inspection with acetic acid (VIA) to detect cervical dysplasia (early cervical cancer), and treatment of cervical dysplasia with thermocoagulation. Cervical visual inspection with acetic acid can detect early precancerous lesions, which can be treated the same day. We will be controlling Dr. St. Paul’s colposcopy interpretation with that of Gynecologists at Rush to ensure accuracy. This protocol will roll out in September.