CANCER AWARENESS

Cervical cancer: How early detection and vaccinations save lives

The HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer.

In Summary

•January is the Cervical Cancer awareness month.

•Vaccination can be done in any government health facility

HPV vaccine reduces cervical cancer cases.
HPV vaccine reduces cervical cancer cases.
Image: COURTESY

Cancer happens, and it is not always pink. For some women, it is pink (breast cancer), but for some, it is teal and white (cervical cancer).

Cervical cancer is not a stigma. It is real but preventable.

According to the Ministry of Health, Cervical cancer kills nine women every day in Kenya, yet it is 100 per cent preventable through vaccination and screening.

According to the World Health Organization, it is the most deadly cancer among women in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is caused by the HPV virus, which is sexually transmitted. One in four women in Africa is estimated to have an HPV infection.

January is the Cervical Cancer awareness month, and as it comes to an end, the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health is urging all women and girls aged 10 years and below to get vaccinated.

Screening for cervical cancer can be done during an appointment with a primary care doctor or a gynecologic specialist. In some areas, free or low-cost screening may be available.

Vaccination can be done in any government health facility and is free for all girls aged 10 years and below.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that Cervical Cancer could be 1st cancer ever to be eliminated if, "90 per cent of the girls are vaccinated, 70 per cent of the women are screened, and 90 per cent of the women with the cervical disease receive treatment."

According to The Ministry of Health;

a)The HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer.

b)The HPV vaccine is safe and effective, given in 2 doses, 6 months apart, and is available for free in government facilities.

c)Men have a role to play in cervical cancer prevention. They should take their loved ones (women) to screen and (daughters) for the HPV vaccine.

d)The HPV vaccine protection is lifelong. It also protects against genital warts and other cancers such as head and neck, anal and vaginal.

"Cervical cancer is not a death sentence," the Ministry of Health states. Screening helps in protecting more women from it. Remember, the best protection is early detection.

Let us all support women everywhere and encourage them to get tested.