IN THE NEWS Cervical cancer screening crucial
EARLY detection is key to stopping cervical cancer in its tracks and the provincial Department of Health (DOH) has urged all women in the Northern Cape to have regular check-ups in order to limit the needless deaths caused by this disease.
September is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the DOH will be educating the public on the issue, while also giving women access to screening, treatment, care and support in order to improve their quality of life and reducing maternal mortality.
“Our women must know their bodies and should conduct regular self-examinations to detect lumps in their breasts and by monitoring abnormal menstruation cycle.” said MEC for Health, Lebogang Motlhaping.
“Cervical cancer screening is by far the best and safest method of identifying cervix cell changes and early cervical cancers before they cause symptoms.”
This comes after the national department recently launched its Cervical Cancer Policy, aimed at prevention and control along with the introduction of a new screening technique called liquid-based cytology.
This method is viewed as an improvement on pap smear techniques and considered more comfortable while still producing reliable results.
The early signs and symptoms of cervical cancer include painful sexual intercourse, abnormal menstruation, abnormal vaginal bleeding or abnormal vaginal discharge, fatigue, nausea and weight loss.
According to the South African Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, cervical cancer affects one out of 41 South African women.
It is estimated that this disease kills approximately eight women in the country every day while the World Health Organisation (WHO) projects that this number will increase to about 12 deaths per day by 2025.
These statistics are all the more alarming considering that cervical cancer is a preventable disease.
Meanwhile, in an effort to manage and control this disease, the department, through the Integrated School Health Programme, has continued with its second round of the HPV immunisation for Grade 4 girl pupils to complete their course.
Spokesperson for the DOH, Lebogang Mahaja, said that this campaign would be running until the end of the month and was a collaboration with the Northern Cape Department of Education.
“During the first round of the HPV campaign, the Northern
Cape achieved 70.5 percent in pupil dose coverage against a target of 80 percent and a school coverage of 65.2 percent against a target of 100 percent,” he said.
“The target for the second round pupil coverage is 80 percent with a 100 percent school coverage.” – Murray Swart