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Women's Wellness Day Campaign benefits 12,000
Published on: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Agatha Chin from Tuaran never went for pap smear test until last weekend after much persuasion from her daughter. She is 70 years old.

Healthy-looking and youthful, the grandmother claims she never knew about the test and was never advised by anyone about it.

"I never knew about it. My daughter told me to come," she said after completing her test during the Women's Wellness Day Campaign held at the Sabah Women and Children's Hospital.

Agatha, who sometimes goes for normal checkup like her blood pressure and sugar level at Tuaran hospital, said she did not feel nervous when undergoing the test for the first time and was looking forward to receiving a clean bill of health from the doctor.

She is not the only one for there are still many women who have never gone for pap smear test, which is a screening procedure for cervical cancer. It tests for the presence of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells on the cervix.

The Women's Wellness Day Campaign, which was jointly organised by the hospital, the Federation of Chinese Associations Sabah, Sabah Chinese Women Associations, State MCA Wanita movement and the Population and Family Development Board, aimed at increasing the level of awareness among women that they need to go for screening to detect early signs of cervical and breast cancer.

The campaign, which was in its 12th year running, proved a success with more than 500 women screened this year. Since it started 12 years ago, it has benefited more than 12,000 women in Sabah.

This year's campaign also provided a dental and oral cancer screening, with nearly 300 individuals screened.

In addition, organisers said 25 individuals went for breast surgical consultation and 168 for blood screening.

It is reported that every woman in Malaysia has a one-in-twenty chance of getting breast cancer in her lifetime and in every four minutes, a life is lost due to cervical cancer.

Although screening is important, many women have neglected it.

According to the chairman of the hospital's board of visitors Dr Pamela Yong, the main person behind the campaign, the common reason is not fear but embarrassment.

However, she pointed out that the campaign has successfully injected a sense of courage among women to overcome the feeling of embarrassment.

"Many have told us that they felt encouraged when they're in the presence of other women who were going for the same screening," she said.

For 28-year-old Shamimi Md Noor, a science and physics officer, she developed the courage to go for screening from friends' support.

She said they informed her about the campaign via WhatsApp and advised her to go.

"I realise that it's important for me because as you know, we grow in age every day," she said. - Leonard Alaza

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