Friday, June 26, 2009

Pap Smear=Cervical cancer free life

Clock work and health check ups could be synonyms in the western world especially for women but not so in India and I often wonder why? Is it because we feel we are immortal or do we just not care enough about our health?

While my graduation, I was placed in US and it was during this phase that I realized the importance of routine medical check-ups. Annual health check ups were encouraged and a pap smear was a must. I spent about 10 years and each year there was a medical check up, there was no escape from this routine…

I still recall my first pap smear; I was a bit anxious of the procedure. My physician detailed out the Pap smear procedure and the importance of it. It was a simple test to check my cervical cells under the microscope for any changes. The Pap test can tell if you have an infection, abnormal (unhealthy) cells, or cancer. There was no pain involved whatsoever in the procedure and five minutes is it all it took.

When I returned to India it was a like a new country….every where I looked, there was something new….malls, flyovers, etc etc.

A year into settling back, I went for my annual medical check up and it was here that I saw the India I had grown up in. I walked in to the gynaecologist’s and told her I was here for a routine annual check up. She looked a bit surprised and she asked me a few questions and said ok you are fine; I was taken aback! I demanded a pap smear and the procedure was no different just that I had to be aggressive to get one.

I came back very distressed and checked with my friends if they had faced a similar situation. Most of them said no, as they had never visited one. It was during these conversations I discovered that in India regular health check ups are not a practice and gynaecologist visits are not considered important. I was told most women only consult OB-GYN when they contracted infections or incase they are were planning a family.

In India, healthcare is a matter of concern. India accounts for a shocking one in eight cervical cancer deaths in the world, there is little or no awareness about the disease.

We owe it to ourselves to live healthy, so please visit a gynaecologist and insist on a pap smear!

Post contributor: Abhijit Kaur, New Delhi


Anonymous said...

I think you are doing a great job. People around have to know about this and would love to be a part of this vocal and written campaign.

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