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Straits Times: Cervical cancer is still a top killer in Singapore

Updated: Jun 10

'I was scared to do a pap smear'

In today's Straits Times newspaper, Ms. Mas Azura Abdul Rahman, a clinic manager and trained nurse, shared that she was hesitant to undergo regular pap smears despite understanding their importance due to discomfort and embarrassment. Diagnosed with a pre-cancerous condition in early 2022, she had to have the affected cervical cells removed and now advocates for routine cervical cancer screening. Cervical cancer, largely preventable and detectable through regular pap smears or HPV testing, remains common in Singapore, accounting for 2.6% of female cancers and 2.8% of female cancer deaths from 2017 to 2021.

Doctors emphasize the importance of early detection, as early-stage cervical cancer is highly curable. Despite awareness, screening rates are low, with only 43.1% of women undergoing regular screening. Barriers include fear, embarrassment, and misconceptions about HPV, which many mistakenly view as a sexually transmitted disease. HPV vaccination, available to Singaporean girls since 2019, plays a crucial role in prevention, yet regular screenings remain essential. Outreach efforts aim to educate both women and their families about the importance of regular cervical cancer screenings to combat stigma and increase participation rates.


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