Opinion | We Have the Resources to Prevent Cervical Cancer. Do We Have the Will?
PANAJACHEL, Guatemala — If someone had come to her community in western Guatemala sooner to offer cervical cancer screening, perhaps Micaela Yac Jeteya, 56, wouldn’t be fighting for her life. Now Yac Jeteya, a mother of six whose youngest son is 16, is suffering from a disease that is both very common and highly preventable. “Almost no one needs to die of cervical cancer,” said Dr. Kirsten Austad, the director of women’s health for the Maya Health Alliance, the organization that tested Yac Jeteya and is now trying to help her navigate treatment options. Yet, in 2018, cervical cancer killed more than 311,000 women — one woman every two minutes. More than 85 percent of those deaths were in low- and middle-income countries. During the same year, the World Health Organization estimates there were 570,000 new cases.