In January, the family of cervical cancer victim, 32-year-old, Trinidad and Tobago national volleyball player, Ayanna Dyette, officially launched The Ayana S. Dyette Foundation for Cervical Cancer.
Dyette passed away from cervical cancer approximately one year after her Stage Four diagnosis in July 2017, much to the shock of the athlete’s family and friends.
Her symptoms began with heavy bleeding during her period, and quickly escalated to excruciating pain, which landed her in the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. It was there that she finally received a pap smear and was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Addressing staggering prevalence
According to the family, the non-governmental organization was formed to address the staggering prevalence of cervical cancer in Trinidad and Tobago. The foundation “is is focused on awareness, geared towards preventative action, by highlighting the importance of yearly pap smears, healthy sexual habits, medical advancements and information hubs for self–learning.”
“Ayana’s story shows that she was just like many other women. She was young, outgoing, educated, athletic with abound opportunities in sport and her professional life as a financial planner, who just did not do her regular checkups. Sadly she became a statistic. Our hope is that other women will hear her story and take immediate action!”
Caused by HPV
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. HPV vaccinations are now readily available in most countries, with public health programs focused on alleviating the growing prevalence of cervical cancer by promoting the vaccine as a proven preventative measure.
If caught quickly through an annual pap smear examination, precancerous lesions can be effectively treated if diagnosed in its early stages.
In a statement released earlier this week, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) noted that cervical cancer is third most common cancer among women in the Caribbean.