Let’s work to eradicate cervical cancer

 The Spectator published a story on cervical cancer last week with the headline, “Women asked to screen regularly as cervical cancer claims more lives.”

Cervical cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the cervix through long-lasting infection with certain types of human papillomavi­rus (HPV) and this mostly occurs in women over age 30.

The story made the case for women to get regular screenings to prevent contracting the disease, which is claiming more lives around the world. Cervical cancer was de­scribed as deadly, devastating, and wreaking havoc on families.

Women are the backbone of families and play a crucial role in the socioeconomic advancement of society, making it imperative that they are aware of their health, es­pecially when it comes to screening for cervical cancer.

Records show that, worldwide, 47,500 of the 89,500 infected wom­en in 2020 perished. in line with cervical cancer. According to data from the HPV Information Centre in Ghana, 3,151 new cases of the disease are diagnosed annually.

As if that is not enough, in 2019, the disease claimed 2,103 lives in the country. The rate of infection is alarming and it calls for regular screening as early detection will lead to effective treatment.

The Spectator is concerned about the rate at which women lose their lives through cervical cancer and strongly believes that these deaths could have been avoided if most women were well-informed about the disease.

The deaths should sound a note of warning to the government to focus more attention on cervical cancer and intensify the education on the disease for many women to be well-informed about it.

Although efforts are being made by the government, health institu­tions and some local and interna­tional organisations to raise aware­ness of the disease it seems there is still much to be done to spread the message widely, especially to com­munities to forestall these occur­rences of deaths.

Thankfully, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set aside January as Cervical Cancer Aware­ness Month to create awareness on the disease and to campaign on the need for women to get screened and vaccinated. This is a laudable initia­tive which needs to be supported by all to help eradicate the disease.

This year’s theme is, “Get in­formed, get screened, get vaccinat­ed.” The theme is timely as suffi­cient knowledge about the disease will go a long way to help women follow the methods for its eradica­tion.

The Spectator implores the gov­ernment to improve its sensitisation efforts by making it a must for all women and also young girls to be screened for cervical cancer regular­ly to know their status.

We also hope that the Ghana Health Service (GHS) will make it mandatory for clinics, hospitals and all other health centres to check whether patients who visit their health centres have been screened and vaccinated against cervical cancer.

If possible, the cost of screening should be included in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to make it possible for those who can­not afford to benefit from it.

By so doing, it will complement the efforts of WHO and other organ­isations to raise awareness of the disease and the need for women to get screened and vaccinated.

Women and girls must take the screening and vaccination seriously to stay healthy. Let us help eradi­cate cervical cancer for women to live healthy lives.

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