The month of January is cervical cancer awareness month. Cervical cancer ranks as the second most frequent cancer among women in Kenya from the ages of 15 to 44 years. Cervical cancer affects the cervix of a woman.
Most cervical cancer cases (99%) stem from infection by the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a virus that is spread through sexual contact. Although most HPV infections are self-limiting and symptomless, persistent infections can lead to cervical cancer in females.
Being the cervical awareness month KUTRRH (Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral & Research Hospital) seeks to raise awareness about cervical cancer and HPV vaccination. The hospital offers the HPV vaccine to 10 to 14-year-olds in two doses.
Screening for Cervical Cancer.
Through early screening and treatment, cervical cancer is preventable and treatable. Screening is used to detect precancerous changes. It is a quick and straightforward process that can be done through two tests;
- The Pap test which checks if the cervical cells are normal.
- The HPV test which helps detect the presence of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that can cause the cell changes.
Women should start getting pap tests at the age of 21, with follow-up tests every three years. Women between the ages of 30 and 65 have three options: a Pap test and an HPV test (co-testing) every five years, a Pap test every three years or a HPV test every five years.
Prevention and Treatment
Cervical cancer can be prevented by the HPV vaccine. Treatment plans for people suffering from cervical cancer range from surgery to radiation and chemotherapy.
Facts on Cervical Cancer
- Women living with HIV are 6 times more likely to develop cervical cancer.
- Cervical cancer can be cured if diagnosed at an early stage and treated promptly.
Early diagnosis saves lives!!
By: Joan Karimi – Communications & Marketing