Our CCC team, led by UCLA’s Dr. Erica Oberman (OB/GYN), arrived in Guatemala early morning on Sunday, May 24th and accomplished everything we set out to do and more! The CCC Team established three new permanent and sustainable cervical cancer clinics in Tactic, Lanquin, and Uspantan. These surround our “hub” clinic in Coban (The Morris Hazan Clinic) and our community clinic (The Greg and Collie Daily Clinic) in rural Coban, which were established in 2013. In just one week, we screened and treated 578 women with an overall positivity rate of 19%!
After a year of planning with our ground partners from the Asociación Compañero Para Cirugía Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, the CCC team leaves Guatemala knowing we have accomplished our lofty task. We trained doctors and nurses from the villages and cities of Coban, Tactic, Lanquin, La Tinta, Uspantan, and San Cristobal and certified 11 fully trained health care providers who are highly proficient in the “See and Treat” procedure. We have established 3 permanent and sustainable CureCervicalCancer centers around our main clinic previously established in Coban– one in Tactic, another in Lanquin, and the third in Uspantan as the satellite clinics that will continue to screen and treat women for pre-invasive cervical cancer lesions for years and years to come. Thousands and thousands of lives will be saved.
We began the week in Coban (a 5 hour drive Guatemala City!) where we lectured 12 doctors/nurses on the “See and Treat” procedure. The following day, the CCC team and the health care staff drove 32 km south of Coban to a city called Tactic where we screened/treated approximately 237 women with a 17.7% positivity rate. With so many patients to be seen, many whom had been waiting as early as 6 am, we continued working even after the hospital lights went off, using our trust headlamps and cell phones for light!
In 2013, Dr. Patricia Gordon set out with the CCC team to establish the “hub” clinic in Coban (The Morris Hazan Clinic). On this trip, we returned to Coban on the 2nd day of clinic where we screened/treated 139 women with a positivity rate of 25%. The following day, the team drove 62 km northeast of Coban to a small rural city called Lanquin. With no hesitation, the team quickly got to work and screened/treated 59 women and found a 17% positivity rate in this small community. On our last day of clinic, we returned in Coban to continue screening and treating women where we found a 12.5% positivity rate after seeing 143 women.
Part 1 Completed: October 2013
Mission accomplished! With the help of our Guatemalan sister organization, Asociación Compañero Para Cirugía (ACPC), we successfully implemented two new sustainable, ongoing CCC clinics. The Cure Cervical Cancer: Morris Hazan Clinic in Coban Hospital and the Cure Cervical Cancer: Collie and Greg Daily Clinic in Chisec, Guatemala will continue to screen and treat thousands of women for years and years to come.
Cure Cervical Cancer successfully screened and treated approximately 300 women for premalignant cervical lesions (dysplasia, CIN I, CIN II, CIN III). We trained groups of local nurses and healthcare professionals how to perform the “See and Treat” method, utilizing the “Simple Vinegar” test (VIA) and cryotherapy for those who test positive. On Sunday, September 29, Patricia Gordon MD, Jade Singer PA, and Kimberly Borden delivered an educational and interactive presentation to nurses and midwives of the Coban/Alta Verapaz region. We met our goal in successfully establishing TWO ongoing, sustainable clinics in the Alta Verapaz region. We sent a team of 8 there from September 27 to October 5, 2013.
Members of the Coban/Chisec CCC Team include: Founder and Director Patricia Gordon MD, Board Member Ellen Boneparth PhD, Jade Singer PA, Diane Chamberlin NP, Director of CCC Volunteers Judy Laner, CCC Coordinator Kimberly Borden, Jessie Margolis, and Cullen Hallinan. Kimberly, Jessie, and Cullen are pursuing careers in medicine.
The Alta Verapaz region of Guatemala consists of mainly Mayan people who have little to no access to healthcare. The HPV rate is extremely high, hence the cervical cancer rates are staggering. These women, we came to find out, rarely have ever had a gynecological exam and were living in mountainous, isolated areas. Cure Cervical Cancer is happy to announce the establishment of self-perpetuating clinics in Coban Hospital and in the town of Chisec, an hour farther north than Coban. This second site was specifically requested by the Guatemalan Ministry of Health.