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Hong Kong diva's death inspires Singapore women to screen for cervical cancer

2004 FEB 9 - ( & -- The death of Hong Kong pop star Anita Mui appears to have prompted a surge in the number of Singaporean women seeking tests for cervical cancer, health officials said January 21. 2004.

Hospitals and clinics have reported a sharp increase in requests for Pap smears, a common test for cervical cancer, since Mui died from the disease on December 30, 2003.

The number of women seeking Pap smears rose slightly in the first week after Mui's death but leaped 38% by the end of the second week, said Vivian Heng, a spokeswoman for the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics, which manages half the city-state's government clinics.

Officials at Singapore General Hospital have reported a similar increase with at least 60 women a day - up from the usual 40 - asked to be screened at the obstetrics and gynecology clinic in the 2 weeks following Mui's death, a hospital spokeswoman said.

"Some patients with abnormal Pap smears ask us, 'Is this the same disease that Anita Mui had?'" Singapore General Hospital gynaecological oncologist Dr Lisa Wong, was quoted as telling the Straits Times.

"We use her case to encourage them to come back for follow-ups to make sure they don't have cancer or are treated if they do," Dr Wong said.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer among female Singaporeans after breast, colon, and lung cancer, according to the Singapore Cancer Society's web site. There are between 200 and 250 new cases of cervical cancer reported in the city-state of 4 million people each year, the newspaper said, citing the Singapore Cancer Registry. This article was prepared by Health & Medicine Week editors from staff and other reports. Copyright 2004, Health & Medicine Week via &

©Copyright 2004, Health & Medicine Week via &