Jamila Says: Get Screened, Get Treated

Jamila learned about the opportunity to be screened for cervical cancer shortly after she enrolled into care at FACES in March 2009. She had never seen a gynecologist, but agreed to screening without hesitation because she wanted to know if she had any problems that she did not know about. Jamila was screened with Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA), a simple test in which vinegar is applied to the cervix, making abnormal cells turn white. Her VIA was positive, and a further exam confirmed that she had an early form of cervical precancer. Although concerned about the results, she was offered treatment with a “LEEP”, a minor procedure that shaves the abnormal cells off the cervix. She had never had surgery before, and was nervous about undergoing this procedure to remove the cancerous cells from her cervix. However, she said she felt better after counseling from the CCSP team, and knew she would have support throughout the procedure. She knew that it was important to prevent the development of cervical cancer, which could leave her very ill, or require a procedure to remove her uterus and prevent her from having children in the future. The LEEP was uncomplicated and she was able to return to work without any problems afterward. She just completed her two-year follow-up visit with CCSP, and was told that her examination was normal; there is no evidence that the abnormal cells have returned.

Jamila knows other women at FACES who have undergone screening, and says that she and the others are all glad that FACES can provide this service. For women who are nervous or reluctant about the exam, she would tell them, “Screening is good. Screening is important. Get the exam.” She could also show them her baby girl, Rehema (1 yr old, and HIV negative after Jamila received PMTCT at FACES). Jamila became pregnant with Rehema after she was treated for cervical precancer. She knows that if she had developed invasive cervical cancer, she may have needed a major surgery and lost her ability to have children. She is thankful to FACES for providing the services that ensure her health, and her ability to have a healthy baby.

April 2011

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