No Fewer Than 500,000 Women Die Of Cervical Cancer – Expert

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Joe Ebi, Benin

A renowned Gynecologist with the Nigeria Airforce Medical Centre, Benin, Dr Ruqayyah Mustapha, has disclosed that over 500,000 women die annually of cervical cancer worldwide.

Dr Mustapha stated this during a one day cervical cancer awareness campaign organised by the Sisters of Jannah (SOJ), a Muslim group for women to commemorate of the cancer awareness month in Benin the state capital.

She also disclosed that about 100,000 new cases were detected annually in Nigeria.

She called on women groups to also carry out awareness campaigns to ensure that women in the state embark on aggressive screening for early detection of the disease.

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In her lecture titled Escaping/Surviving Cervical Cancer, Dr. Mustapha noted that cervical cancer was the second most common cancer among women worldwide

“Cervical cancer occurs when abnormal cells on the cervix grow out of control.

“Cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. It is the second most common cancer among women worldwide

“Over 500,000 women worldwide die of cervical cancer annually and about 100,000 new cases per year in Nigeria.

“Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) has been the major culprit indicated as
the cause of cervical cancer.

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” Long lasting sexually transmitted infection with certain types of
HPV may lead to cancer

” There are about 100 strains of HPV but the most commonly implicated
is HPV-16 and HPV- 18.

” Other cancers caused by this virus include; vulva ca, vaginal ca,
penile ca, anal ca, rectal ca, and throat ca,” she said

Mustapha said those at risk of the infection were women above the age 30, Women with multiple sexual partners and women who have given birth to three or more children.

She also stated that having early sexual activity at early age less than 16 years was also a risk factor among others.

She listed bleeding that occurs between regular menstrual periods, bleeding after sexual intercourse, bleeding after menopause and
increased vaginal discharge to be some of the symptoms.

According to her, early detection through Bimanual pelvic examination, Pap test, HPV testing, Colposcopy, Biopsy, Pelvic examination under anaesthesia, X-ray
,CT scan and MRI is recommended for every woman.

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“To prevent the disease, vaccinate 9-13 years old girls with two doses of HPV vaccine

“Pap smear test every three years once you are 21 years or older, 30-60 years should do both pap smear test and HPV test every five years.

“Sexually active group with higher risk should screen for STDs like
gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV.

“Avoid multiple sexual partners and stay faithful in your relationship,” she added.

According to her, it is treatable if picked early but If the cancer has invaded into the deeper layer of the cervix but had not gone to other parts of the body.

“Treatment will include, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy among others,”.

Ealier in her welcome address, Hajia Nana-Aishat Kassim-Hassan, the Benin zone coordinator of SOJ, said the awareness campaign became necessary because most women were not aware of cervical cancer which was preventable If detected on time.

She urged participants to take advantage of the awareness campaign to go for screening.

“Cancer is a deadly disease but when detected early, lives can be saved. It is not a death sentence so do not panick,” she said.

According to her, this year’s cancer awareness programme, we will be looking at cervical cancer which is only peculiar to women.

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