Deux-Sèvres, poor relation of cervical screening in New Aquitaine

Until she was 32, Elsa Jousset had never heard of HPV, the papillomavirus causing 95% of cervical cancers. “I did a smear every two years, but more for fear of sexually transmitted infections than of cancer cells”explains Deux-Sévrienne, who testifies as she approaches Green Junecervical cancer screening awareness month.

“This smear saved me, preventing me from metastasizing”

In June 2022, this virus which she did not know existed caught up with her. “Following my smear test, the midwife called me to tell me I had high-grade HPV. » The tests will conclude that it is a carcinoma, or a cancerous tumor.

A few months after his operation, in November, “I’m fine, even if there are still after-effects”reports the young woman. This smear saved me, preventing me from metastasizing and the tumor from deteriorating”.

When you don’t have enough to meet your basic needs, health comes second.

Sarah Ettouati, doctor coordinating cancer screening for Deux-Sèvres Niort

In France, where cervical cancer kills a thousand women each year, 90% of the 3,000 cases counted could be avoided if more than 80% of adolescents were vaccinated, and more than 70% of women kept their vaccination up to date. screening. In Deux-Sèvres, this last figure falls to 58.6% over the period 2019-2021, compared to an average of 62.8% in Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

On May 29, 2024, the CRCDC-Nouvelle-Aquitaine raised awareness of Green June, awareness month on cervical cancer screening.
© (Photo NR, Camille Montagnon)

Which is surprising, given that the department is among the best performers in the region when it comes to colorectal and breast cancer screenings. Doctor coordinating cancer screening for Deux-Sèvres, Sarah Ettouati explains this in particular by a lack of information on the subject, doubled at “limiting thoughts”.

Fight preconceived ideas

“We often believe that because we are young, or on the contrary postmenopausal, we are not at risk, she illustrates. There is also the idea that the papillomavirus only affects women who have a “risky” or very active sex life, which is false.. As a reminder, an HPV test must be carried out every three years between the ages of 25 and 30, after two tests carried out one year apart, then every five years, between the ages of 30 and 65.

In France, 90% of cervical cancers could be avoided if more than 80% of adolescents were vaccinated, and more than 70% of women were up to date with their screening.
© (Photo NR, Camille Montagnon)

And their practice is far from being the prerogative of gynecologists, contrary, again, to popular belief, since midwives, general practitioners and even nursing staff in medical analysis laboratories and hospital centers are suitable for it. Self-sampling of the papillomavirus also constitutes a reliable remedy, in the medical desert that is Deux-Sèvres, affected by the renunciation of care.

58.6

This is the coverage rate for cervical cancer screening in Deux-Sèvres, compared to a regional average of 62.8%.

“When you don’t have enough to meet your vital needs, health comes second”, summarizes Sarah Ettouati. To reduce the percentage of Deux-Sévriennes excluded from screening, which has stagnated at 40% since the Covid crisis, “the invitations sent by the Primary Health Insurance Fund are no longer enough”.

Attempting to respond to this observation, HPV screenings will be offered for the first time to beneficiaries of Secours populaire food distributions, in Niort and Thouars, on June 19 and 26, 2024. Through this action, site 79 of the Screening Coordination Center of cancers (CRCDC) of Nouvelle-Aquitaine hopes to reach some 250 women.

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