Women have been urged to champion the cause of cervical cancer awareness as early detection improves chances of survival.
Cervical cancer is a malignant (cancerous) tumour of the lower-most part of the uterus (womb) that can be prevented by Pap smear screening and a Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.
Mrs Georgina Kumah-Dzagah, a cancer advocate, gave the advice in an interview with the Ghanaian Times yesterday in Accra.
She said “The high survivability rate of cervical cancer depends largely on how early it is detected that is why we keep advising women to get themselves screened at least once every year for the detection of any abnormalities.”
She mentioned that yearly, cervical cancer claims the lives of more than 60,000 women out of a total number of 80,000 who are diagnosed of the disease on the continent.
She bemoaned that persons suffering from HIV were at a greater risk of getting cervical cancer due to their increased risk of contracting the HPV infection, which is the main cause of cervical cancer.
However, she encouraged sufferers of the disease not to lose hope but rather focus on taking their medications and joining others in educating the public about the reality of the disease.
Survivors, she said, must also confidently come out to share their stories in efforts to give hope to persons battling the ailment, adding that sharing one’s story always gives the assurance to those fighting cervical cancer or other forms of cancers of the possibility of surviving.
Mrs Kumah-Dazgah who is also the founder of Flames of Hope Foundation, a non profit cancer support and prevention organisation indicated that girls and women should also make it a point to seek more information about cancers that usually affected females, saying “sometimes the information you have about certain diseases can help save your life.”
According to the cancer advocate, the availability of the HPV vaccine must be known to members of the populace so that more women could get themselves and their daughters who are above 15 years old vaccinated against the deadly disease.
Since cervical cancer is very much preventable, she reiterated that it was very important for more awareness to be created about it to save lives.
“As a country, we still have a long way to go with creating awareness about cervical cancer, considering the level of ignorance among the populace.”
“We at Flames of Hope Foundation would like to encourage all women to get the facts and get involved in spreading the awareness message,” Mrs Kumah-Dzagah added.
She said irregular blood flow or spotting were among the common symptoms of cervical cancer which must be reported at the hospital for prompt medical attention.
She also urged families and the society at large, to support persons battling the disease and avoid stigmatisation.
“Let us all get involved in eradicating the impact of cervical cancer,” she advised.
The month of January has been set aside to increase awareness about very cervical cancer globally.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU