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Cervical Cancer; Leading Cause Of Death Among Women – Gynaecologist 

By Sonia Bih Chofor*

CameroonPostline.com — A gynaecologist at the Buea Regional Hospital Annex, Dr. Felix Elong Adolphe, has said cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women in Cameroon.

“The situation of cervical cancer in Cameroon is deplorable since it is the most common gynaecological cancer. Worse still, 70 to 80 percent of cervical cancer patients come to the hospital at the advanced stage of the disease when treatment is above what we can offer.

And this is as a result of lack of awareness of the population about the disease and lack of trained medical personnel who can carry out the task of screening and sensitisation,” Dr. Elong explained. The gynaecologist said cancer generally is abnormal growth of abnormal cells located in any part of the body. “The growth is uncontrolled and tends to evade surrounding tissues so can spread to other parts of the body,” he said.

“Cervical cancer is thus cancer that originates around the cervix,” Dr. Elong said. He cited factors that expose women to the disease such as multiple sexual partners, women with partners that have multiple sexual partners, early onset of sexual activities, cigarette smoking, women with low socio-economic status and the human papillomavirus (HPV) disease which is a sexually transmitted disease.

“Recent studies show that HPV is a likely cause of cancer, making cervical cancer a sexually transmitted disease,” he added. According to Dr. Elong, cervical cancer may not generate symptoms during the early stages, but shows signs like abnormal bleeding, extreme discharge and foul smelling discharge in advanced stage of the illness. “Patients could also witness low abdominal pain, severe anaemia, blood in urine and kidney problems.

In severe cases of cervical cancer, patients should consult their doctors if they witness one or some of these symptoms,” Elong advises. He blames the increase in the rate of cervical cancer to lack of knowledge on the part of women. “A disease which is the leading cause of cancer death among women in Cameroon should be taken seriously by instituting preventive measures like use of condom since it is also a sexually transmitted disease.

Women should learn these factors that expose them to the illness and avoid them; the use of vaccine before initial sexual contact, organisation of screening programmes which can detect pre-cancerous legions that could be dealt with before it gets to cancer, and adequate treatment and follow-up of treatment on women with the disease,” he explains.

This, to him, will go a long way to defeat the continued attack of cervical cancer on women, a disease Florence Ngum, who has lost her mother to the disease, says “is a painful way of losing one’s life” and so advises women to take screening and vaccination seriously.

*UB Journalism Student on Internship

First published in The Post print edition no 01376

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