Every year, physicians from the UA College of Medicine and the University of Arizona Medical Center take working vacations for medical missions abroad. This summer, several obstetricians and gynecologists headed to Africa and Central America to assist in surgeries, cervical cancer screenings and training of medical personnel in remote locales.
Preventing Cancer, Saving Lives
In June, Dr. Pam Lotke, assistant professor at the UA Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, spent two weeks in Nicaragua with Prevention International: No Cervical Cancer. It was her fourth trip to the country. "I'm going to León and, for the first time, to Laguna de Perla on the unincorporated Atlantic Coast. Now there's a road there. It used to be accessible only by water. That will be new," she said before she left.
Lotke works with local doctors, nurses and medical assistants to teach them how to do simple visual inspection with acetic acid screenings for cervical cancer and loop electrosurgical excision procedures to remove precancerous growths. Last summer, she spent a week in Nicaragua and another in Peru. "When I was in Nicaragua, we maybe saw only 75 to 100 women. Then, I went to Peru and, with fewer volunteers, we saw almost 400 patients. At some point, you just have to shut the door and say you won’t see any more people today."