WOMEN in Sibu will soon be able to use the cervarix vaccine to prevent cervical cancer once it is available to the Sibu branch of the Sarawak Family Planning unit.
Susie Yeo, who is in charge of the branch, said, before the branch could keep the vaccine, it needed to have a refrigerator as the vaccine had to be kept in a cool place at all times.
“We are liaising with Syarikat Sesco Bhd to ensure we have a reliable supply of electricity to keep the refrigerator working,” she said.
Cervical cancer can be caused by a high-risk virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV) which is usually transmitted through genital skin-to-skin contact.
It is estimated that four out of five sexually-active women could have the HPV infection during their lifetimes even if they have had only one or two sexual partners.
If the patient has the virus, it can result in cervical cancer in about 10 years.
Yeo said a pap smear was a quick and simple test to find out whether one had cervical cancer.
She said, for the first eight months of this year, the branch had conducted pap smears on 865 women compared to 1,427 for the whole of last year.
Of the 865 women, she said that only two of them were referred to the hospital for follow-ups after they were found to have abnormal cells.
As for breast examinations to check on beast cancer, 3,841 women were examined in the first eight months of this year. Last year, the number was 5,251. All the women were found to be healthy.