Cervical Cancer: A Public Health Problem in Venezuela

By Mariana Souquett Gil, Venezuela

The following is an excerpt from an article written by a reporter who was part of a Sabin-supported program for journalists. As part of the program, they covered stories on HPV and cervical cancer in low and middle-income countries.

Relatives can spend more than $10,000 between all the treatment and oncological exams in parts of Venezuela | Photo: Mariana Souquett

Despite being preventable by vaccination in most cases, cervical cancer is still one of the main types of cancer among women in Venezuela.

“We are going to prepare you for a total hysterectomy.” Those were the first words that Yaciri Salazar heard when she went to her gynecological consultation the last week of August 2023.

For her, a receptionist and resident of La Vega, in Caracas, the diagnosis of cervical cancer came five months earlier, in March, at the age of 40. After detecting the progression of the disease, she was prescribed six sessions of chemotherapy and 28 sessions of radiotherapy.

On June 5, she began receiving treatment. She was able to get chemotherapy at her hospital, the Dr. Luis Razetti Oncology Institute, the most important oncology center in the country, located in Caracas. Despite being the main hospital for treating people with cancer, they cannot offer radiotherapy because their equipment is damaged.

Without sufficient resources and with the help of the institution where she works, Yaciri managed to undergo 28 sessions of radiotherapy at a private health center. “A very harsh treatment that I wouldn’t wish on anyone,” she says. Her employers also helped her pay for diagnostic tests and follow-up.

Five months after her diagnosis, her studies showed good results: the lesion on her cervix was no longer visible, according to the medical report. But for her, her treatments must continue: she also has a growing fibroid (a benign tumor).

Due to her condition, she must now undergo surgery for a total hysterectomy: the removal of the uterus and cervix.


Read the full article in Spanish on the Efecto Cocuyo website.

About this Article

Sabin through its Immunization Advocates program supported journalists based in Bolivia, Egypt, Ghana, Guyana, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Venezuela and Zimbabwe interested in working on in-depth investigative reports about HPV vaccination and cervical cancer. Grantees were selected in concert with Sabin partners International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) — as part of the Global Health Reporting Initiative — and Internews. Sabin connected grantees to expertise and information about HPV and cervical cancer and continues to engage with journalists across low- and middle-income countries who are seeking to report on these topics.