Breast and zika screening “We are just beginning to understand the zika-virus”


GREAT BAY – The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), Positive Foundation, and the American University of the Caribbean (AUC) collaborated on the study of breast abnormalities and health screening for chronic diseases and conditions. The health screening took place at the Vineyard building on Saturday.
Participants in the screening were asked questions about their medical history, and a screening questionnaire was filled based on the person’s responses. Height, weight, and waist circumference were measured, and a finger prick took drop of blood to check the level of cholesterol and glucose in the person’s body.
An Educational Talk also took place to inform the community about breast cancer and the importance of breast health, and a plastic breast model was used to display how to perform monthly self-breast exams. Lastly, a physician performed a breast exam for each woman who attended the screening.
Meanwhile, the CPS and AUC were also testing for Zika – a virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes – “we’re drawing blood and looking for the presence of anti-bodies against the Zika virus. Some people can be infected with the virus, their bodies fight and they never show any signs. So by looking for anti-bodies, we can determine the actual number of people who were infected in the population.” says Dr. V. Asin.
According to an AUC student, screenings like these are important because “we really want to talk about diseases that can be treated. Breast cancer can be treated if detected early, and screenings such as these help with an earlier detection which leads to a higher survival rate. If you can find breast abnormalities early on and educate patients what to look for, you can help increase that survival rate.”
Dr, Virginia Asin, head of collective Preventive Services, stated “we are just beginning to understand the Zika virus, and although we know that the chance of having the virus is less than 10 percent it’s still a concern for people who are considering having a family.”
“In my experience, people come to these screenings because services that normally may be expensive are free and easily accessible. I also believe that people are interested in learning more about their health,” said an AUC student, “another thing that we are doing as part of the screenings is collecting data to report to the Ministry of Health to come up with more accurate statistics for to St. Maarten, because the statistics that are used now come from the United States.”

Source: TODAY