Health & Wellness, Opinon and Research, The Pulse

Promising results for Curacao + Caribbean in prevention of cervical cancer. (Dr. Desiree Hooi | Interview part II)

March 5, 2015
Dr Desi Hooi in the Lab - HPV research


Fundashon Prevenshon

Dr. Desiree Hooi has been leading a significant research project on the prevalence and prevention of the spread of HPV Human Papillomavirus with Fundashon Prevenshon in Willemstad, Curaçao.

We are back with  Part 2  of  a previous interview with Dr. Hooi  you can read PART 1  here.



CF: What is HPV?
Dr. Hooi: 

•  HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus and is a double   stranded DNA virus.

•  HPV is the number one most common STD.

•  80 to 84% of the population was once in contact with this virus.

Fortunately the body takes care to eliminate the virus and it may take 1 to 2 years for the immune system to get rid of the virus. HPV knows approximately 160 genotypes from which can be subdivided in cutaneous and mucosa. This virus is known for in some occasions depending which genotype causing the so-called genital and some cutaneous (skin) warts.  HPV is divided in low risk (lr HPV) and high risk (hr HPV).  The last subdivision is important because the hr HPV is known to cause cancer and is an oncovirus.  HPV 16 & 18 are the most prevalent in causing Cervical Cancer.

The HPV genotypes known for causing cancer do not give any symptoms.

CF: So is HPV a Public Health issue?
Dr. Hooi: Indeed; HPV is considered a Public Health issue due to findings of cancer caused by a very
contagious sexual transmitted virus in the cervix (feminine organ) and also in other tissues in women and men e.g. vulva, vagina, anus, oral cavity and throat in women.  There are reports of HPV in men with cancer of the penis, anus, oral and throat cavity.



HPV prevention dr. Desi Hooi in Lab


CF: Is this a preventable cancer?
Dr. Hooi: Yes. Besides the fact that young children can be vaccinated this cancer develops slowly.  One must become infected with HPV to develop cervical cancer.

This virus causes changes in the human DNA structure and provokes a pre-cancer lesion which most of the time will take 10-15 years to turn into cancer. During this period, the pre-cancer lesion can be detected and treated on time if you have a screening (Pap smear) done regularly.

CF:Why do you think this is important in the Caribbean?
Dr. Hooi: 

The cervical cancer mortality rate is high in the Caribbean region and it is the 2nd place most prevalent cancer among women between ages 15 to 44.

It is noticed that in developed countries screening programs have reduced the incidence of cancer and mortality rate. More data is needed to analyze the situation in the Caribbean.  Guidelines must be adapted on the basis of the results within the culture and ethnicity of the medical community in the specific Caribbean area.

The results of the studies can be applied to other islands where the necessary adjustments are aimed in specific medical standards and cultures.

CF: What is your estimated result of this HPV study?
I estimate a high % positivity in the upcoming 1000 tests given. The results of the study held among 253 women on Curaçao in 2013 had a high prevalence (20.2%) in the specific age group 45-75 years.
The prevalence by country is:

[visualizer id=”7670″]

Europe is 6%,
The United States 13%,
Latin America 18%
Africa 23%.

We expect a higher prevalence from the upcoming 1000 samples since the age group <40 years will be representative in this survey.  Among this age group of individuals less than 40 years, HPV prevalence is the highest according to literature. Regarding our study on paraffin embedded tissue; we can mention that the HPV 16+18 was not that prevalent compared with the rest of the world.

This may have important significance for the introduction of vaccine considering the fact that other HPV genotypes are playing a role in causing cancer in our population.  What type of role still needs to be discussed.

A study performed among sex workers in our community revealed no significant differences between this group and the results from the pilot in volunteered participants. We have to wait for results of the population in this specific age group <40 years that represented the sex workers in order to compare and do analysis on these findings. We can preliminarily say that it will not make an important difference since the virus is very contagious and promiscuity or multiple sex partners does not only happen amongst sex workers.

The oral cavity study it is still ongoing with results pending this year.  We think that the results will not differ from the rest of the world.  Regarding the women with hysterectomies with intact cervix I think there might be a large number with no cervical cancer screening afterwards because they are:

1. Not aware of the relevance of having the cervix intact and the need to perform a Pap-smear.
2. This group will be considered the non-responders to well established cervical cancer screening programs in some countries.

This fact maybe underestimated.

Art & Culture, Feacha, Technology, The Pulse

The URBAN CHASE game preview is here!

December 1, 2014

First of it’s kind in the Caribbean! Play and win prizes as you discover the streets of Curaçao.

The Urban Chase game was created by a team of 4 people comprised of:

Margin Nahr: Game Development,
Yasser Casseres : Business Development,
AREA 51’s  Xavier Navarro  (Dopie): Marketing Management
& Ryan Navarro(QD): as its Creative Director.

The game will be available to the public on Dec 20th  in what is self-described ‘apple style’ product release event. This is where they will reveal their new app and show entire Curaçao how to play and even better WIN prizes just for playing!

It is going to be big y’all.

I KNOW some of you think this will be your new job. Hahahah!

Game play: The game is comparable to subway surfer and Temple run where you take your player through amazingly illustrated scenes from the island of Curacao.  They didn’t leave anything out either! Iguana man is in there, Andrelton Simons and every Curacaoan pigeon on Brion Plein made the cut!

I already see three reason this concept may win!
1. This truly looks like a fun game. 2.  It will be free and you will be able pick up and play it on your phone any time by picking up coins and points, no problem. 3. Because Urban Chase has you on a mission; High scorers have the opportunity to WIN great prizes from all the brand partners.

We are impressed by the hard work and dedication put in to bringing not only this game but a fresh new marketing concept to the island. We do not have all the details on how the prizes will be distributed. But I commend the partners, and sponsors who have decided to invest in this young and dynamic group for their vision. This game is beyond Urban Chase. It’s about thinking large and breaking out of small island thinking and positioning ourselves along side our peers across the globe.


Follow urban chase on facebook for updates  ‪#‎UrbanChase‬