Permit me space to draw to the attention of the public of this disease which is now in a rise and affects women in Ghana and worlwide.
Cervical Cancer Ambassadors GH is a non-governmental organization established by a group of nurses in the greater Accra Region headed by Ackom Blaise the president to help create awareness on cervical cancer after statistics indicated that cervical cancer is on a rise in Ghana.
We as an organization, our mission is to help save lives from cervical cancer so that our women will leave in a free cervical cancer world.
Cervical Cancer (Cancer of the cervix)is the most common cancer of the female genital tract in Ghana. It affects woman of all ages but is most common in the 40 – 50 year old age group. Precancerous changes are detected in women 25 years and over.
The good news is that this is one of the few cancers that can actually be prevented! Despite this there are 275,000 deaths from this disease every year, most of these in the developing world mainly because of very low levels of preventive interventions.
What is the cause of cancer of the cervix?
1. Majority of the cancers are caused by a sexually transmitted virus known as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). These viruses are quite common in the population so it’s easy to contract them through sexual activity.
They do not cause significant symptoms and in a lot of people the body’s immune system is able to clear the virus. However in a proportion of people the HPV remains silently in the cells of the cervix for many years.
As they live in the cells of the cervix they gradually cause changes in the cells that may ultimately develop into cancer of the cervix. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of a woman’s uterus which opens into the vagina.
2. Long term use of oral contraceptives
3. Frequent douching ( using chemicals to wash the vagina )
4. Untreated chlamydia infections.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CERVICAL CANCER
1. Inter-menstrual bleeding i.e. bleeding in-between your menstrual period, bleeding after sex, bleeding after menopause.
2. Dyspareunia – consistent pain during or after sexual intercourse
3. Unusual vaginal discharges.
4. Hematuria – blood in urine
5. Anal bleeding
Methods of preventing cancer of the cervix
Methods of prevention for cervical cancer have developed over the years and here are the main methods:
1. Avoid HPV infection
2. Immunization against HPV infection
3. Routine screening for HPV and precancerous changes of the cervix.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the known cause of cervical cancer in the majority of cases. It is a sexually transmitted virus that is rather common in the general population. We can avoid contact with this virus by;
a. Avoid early sexual initiation.
b. Avoid multiple sexual partners.
c. Do not smoke.
d. Use condoms.
GENERAL ADVICE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC ESPECIALLY THE WOMEN
1. We will like to encourage our women to visit the hospital for the cervical cancer screening (Pap smear) to seek early interventions as the saying goes ‘’ prevention is better than cure ‘’.
2. We will also advice our women to avoid multiple sexual partners to help prevent the spread of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which is the major cause of the majority cases of cervical cancer.
3. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to help boost the immune system so that it will be able to fight the HPV in case of any contact.
4. Women who use mixtures to wash the private parts to make them tight ( douching ) should desist from it since these chemicals changes the normal vagina flora which protects the organ from infections, So when this happens the normal vagina flora will not be able to fight any infection it comes into contact with.
5. Avoid smoking
We will therefore like to appeal to the government, individuals and other cooperative organization to help us to extend our campaign to the other regions of Ghana so that we can kick cervical cancer away.
Source: Cervical Cancer Ambassadors GH