Our research director, Anita Chary, has recently published this blog on cervical cancer in Guatemala on the Global Health Hub.
Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among women in low- and middle-income countries. Vaccination and screening efforts have garnered much international attention and funding recently, and much of the global health community has rallied around this issue. Even as these important preventive efforts take place, however, many of us will continue to encounter women with full-blown cervical cancer. These women’s interpretations of the disease offer many lessons for health educators, practitioners, and policymakers.
Over the last three years, I have been conducting research about women’s perceptions of cervical cancer in Guatemala. As part of my dissertation research in medical anthropology, I worked in Guatemala’s oncology hospital and visited 20 NGO-based cervical cancer programs, where I interviewed 52 women with cervical cancer. From my interactions with these women—some on the road to recovery, and many more in palliative care stages—two important perceptions emerged.
“I thought it was menopause”