Sexually, Active Women are at Risk of Cervical Cancer

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According to the United Nations, cancer continues to be a major health burden in the world, even if there are various control methods. According to the statistics of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is a subsidiary organization of the World Health Organization (WHO), in their study of 2022 in 185 countries, it showed 20 million new cancer patients and among them, 9.7 million died. People who survived five years after being diagnosed with cancer are 53.5 million.

Statistics show that out of five people, one has cancer, which is equal to 1 in 9 men and 1 in 12 women die of cancer. Through its Universal Health Service statistics, WHO says that among the 115 countries involved in this study, only 39% include cancer treatment in health insurance. 28% have included additional support services for patients, including pain management and those unrelated to cancer.

In Tanzania, a preliminary survey conducted by the Agha Khan Institute in collaboration with the Bugando Regional Referral Hospital (BMC) and the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI) from December 2020 to September 2023 showed that between 800,000 people examined, 30,000 people have cancer.

In addition, the WHO study shows that lung cancer is said to be more common in men, taking the first place with 2.5 million new patients, followed by breast cancer that affects women, and the third place is colon cancer. Prostate cancer was the fourth, and stomach cancer was the fifth.

Also, read Urethroplasty Surgery: Mtwara-Ligula Hospital Achieves Medical Milestone.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide and caused 604,000 new cases in 2020. 90% of the 342,000 deaths caused by cervical cancer occurred in low- and middle-income countries.

According to the Director of Health and Social Welfare Services from PO-RALG, Dr. Rashid Mfaume, representing the Minister of Health, Ummy Mwalimu, at the World Cancer Day celebrations held in Dar Es Salaam on February 4, 2024, said the leading cancer in the country is cervical cancer where on average every 100 cancer patients, 25 women have cancer that, followed by Breast Cancer but also Throat Cancer.

Women are at Risk of Getting Cervical Cancer

The Gynecologist makes the statement at the Bugando Regional Referral Hospital, Amina Yusuph, who is also the National Cervical Cancer Instructor, where she states that the main reason is the virus called Papilloma (Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)) which causes the disease is transmitted through sexual intercourse.

“This papillomavirus is transmitted through sexual intercourse, like other types of infection, a man can be used as a way to transmit this virus from one woman to another, but a man cannot be affected because he does not have a cervix, so a woman who has sex with Many men put themselves at great risk of contracting the virus,” he says.

Apart from that group, Dr Amina mentions other groups of women who are at high risk of contracting the disease, such as those who are infected with the AIDS virus (HIV), who have many children starting from five and above, daughters who are afraid to start having sex and those with sexually transmitted diseases.

“In addition to people with HIV, there are also women who are pregnant or have given birth to many children from five upwards, where they are infected with the Paperoma virus, they are at greater risk of suffering from this cancer, but also daughters who start having sex early put them at greater risk because they have a greater chance of having sex but also people infected with other sexually transmitted diseases are also at risk,” he says.

The specialist explains that the Papilloma virus, if infected and stays in the body for a long time, can cause the problem of cancer and starts showing symptoms for a period of 10 to 20 years.

It takes a long time; for example, if a girl starts having sex at the age of 15, it means that until she starts to make the initial changes in her door, it will take 10 to 20 years, so this girl will begin to show the initial changes at the age of 30.

He adds that “in the past, we were used to older people from 40 years old who were suffering from this disease, but due to the presence of HIV, we see even daughters as young as 30 years old getting sick even the Ministry of Health says any mother aged 30 to 60 is well he was examined,”.

However, he says that due to the people’s lack of understanding, the long distance to get health services, lousy infrastructure, and poverty, it has become an obstacle for the people to find it challenging to get assistance on time.

Cancer Treatment

Cervical cancer can be treated if detected early by the Pap Test (Papanicolaous Test); Pap-Smear is a test used to examine changes in the cells in the cervix to detect changes that occur in those cells and thus deal with them early.

People should understand that there is a vaccine for Cervical Cancer like other vaccines, and they are given in centres that provide those vaccines, so those daughters who have not yet started having sex should be sent to get this vaccine.

Other treatments for cervical cancer include surgery aimed at removing the area of the cervix that contains malignant cells and radiation therapy that uses high-energy X-rays or other radiation particles to destroy cancer cells and prevent them from growing.

Cervical Cancer Patients

Suzana John (79) is not her real name. She is a cancer patient at Bugando Hospital who is also a resident of Kigoma. Continuing treatment at the hospital, she says she started bleeding from her private parts during the day and night. The disease and being asked to go to a big hospital.

“I started bleeding day and night for almost half a year; then, on December 16, 2023, I went to the hospital, and they took tests. After that, they gave me a paper with writing and told me to go to a big hospital. After that, I came to Bugando on December 23, 2023. They took tests and also gave me Two pieces of meat from my body that were removed after nine days, and they told me that I had cervical cancer.

I have started to receive external radiation treatment in this hospital, and I have started to recover because I was not sleeping, but I am sleeping; I was not able to go to the toilet, but the bleeding has stopped,” says Suzana

A resident of Skonge in the Tabora region (her name is withheld) who is treating her mother, who is suffering from the disease in the Bugando hospital, says that since her mother started receiving external radiation treatment, blood and water have stopped coming from her private parts.

“He started having abdominal pain, waist, and blood began to come from private parts from August to December 2023; after going to the clinic, they told him that they could not treat him. They wrote him a referral to go to Muhimbili or Bugando Hospital, and then we took a referral to come here to Bugando. They did not tell him he was sick when they gave him that referral. What?

When we arrived here in Bugando, they took the tests along with the internal medicine, and we returned home while waiting for the results to come out after three weeks. After the answers, they told us that she had Cervical Cancer, so we started with external and internal radiation treatment; where since she began, it has been going well because she is bleeding and watery, but since she started the treatment, it has stopped coming out,” he said.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

To deal with the disease, girls between the ages of 9 and 15 should be vaccinated against cervical cancer; at the same time, education for the community should be emphasized to reduce the challenge of many women to identify the disease when it is in its early stages, which are difficult to treat.

To prevent this disease, we want young girls from 9 to 15 years to get a vaccine that will protect them so that they cannot be infected with this virus, but also those who have started having sex; the only way to prevent us from this cancer is to be examined every three years because from the time you get an infection until It takes about 10 to 20 years to start getting the first symptoms.

“With the experience we have at the Bugando Regional Referral Hospital, we receive many patients who are in the advanced stages of this virus infection during which they are looking for care, so people who are in the habit of examining their health will identify patients in the early stages that are easy to treat,” says Dr Amina

A digital personal, writer, presenter, cinematographer and content producer who has made a significant impact on media companies with his exceptional writing skills. His passion is creating informative content and conducting research. Anania continued his studies in Journalism and Mass Communications at St. Augustine University of Tanzania, while continuing to work as a freelancer for the newspaper Mwananchi Communication. Anania received various certificates, first he was recognized by Reuters, which awarded him a certificate in digital journalism, also by the regional police in Mwanza, which validated her efforts in the gender desk.

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3 months ago

Can you arrange a campaign or program to pass in highschool, college and university for the check up and awareness as soon as possible?

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