At CHELD, one of the projects we seek to pursue vigorously is cervical cancer awareness. While there is debate in the western world about whether or not cancer screenings are useful or over-utilised, there is no question of any excess of cancer screenings in a developing country like Nigeria. The problem currently is not one of a surfeit of tests, but a paucity of awareness, availability and access to screenings; not a question of “too much” but of “too little.” From research available in peer reviewed journals, and anecdotal evidence gathered simply from talking to the women we know personally, many women in Nigeria, including those who are educated about the need for pap tests, do not have pap tests regularly and sometimes have never had a pap test.
So, instead of writing a long essay on the need for pap tests and how it can help prevent cervical cancer by detecting HPV infection or precancerous cells or cervical cancer at a very early stage, we will simply ask, if you are a woman, especially a woman living in Nigeria:
When was your last pap test?