Dr. Mrs. Anita Owusu-Afriyie, a Medical Officer in the Oncology Unit of the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) in Tema, has challenged women not to use cost as excuse to shy away from cervical cancer screening.
She noted that “screening is less expensive as compared to the cost of treatment if one fails to undergo screening, which most often leads to early detection and prevention… Life cannot be quantified.”
Dr. Mrs. Owusu-Afriyie gave the caution at the weekly “Your Health! Our Collective Responsibility! A public health advocacy platform created by the Ghana News Agency to set the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy.
Dr. Mrs. Owusu-Afriyie advises women aged 21 and older to undergo cervical and Human Papillomavirus (HPV) screenings for early detection as cervical cancer is a killer, but early detection would save lives.
She said statistics from the HPV centre indicated that every year a total of 2,797 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer, and 1,699 died from it.
Dr. Mrs. Owusu-Afriyie said the HPV could be contracted through any form of sex, vaginal, anal, or oral, as well as through an affected penis or vulva.
She said untreated warts could also lead to cervical and penile cancers; therefore, any detection of warts on the private part must be taken seriously and reported for treatment at the hospital.
She added that the cancer could spread to other organs of the body, such as the spine, lungs, and liver, among others.
The Medical Officer, therefore, encouraged women to examine their vulva when bathing to identify early if any wart starts growing there to report.
Dr. Mrs. Owusu-Afriyie added that other symptoms include painful sex, post-coital bleeding, spotting in between menses, and offensive vaginal discharges.
Speaking on “Female Cancers—Cervical Cancer,” she said cervical cancer was preventable, therefore the need to screen early, adding that “all those who report to the hospital with symptoms already have advanced stages of the cancer; all pre-cancer cell detection is seen through screening.”
She said that as the global community commemorates breast cancer awareness, “we must not also forget about cervical cancer; we must undertake holistic health screening periodically for a healthy life.”
The Medical Officer explained that due to the position of the cervix, which is at the mouth of the womb and serves as the link between the uterus and the vagina, it was difficult to detect any abnormal happenings without a screen.
Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager, appealed to stakeholders to support public advocacy to save lives.
“We must encourage all, especially women, during the breast cancer awareness month to participate in the screening.”
Mr. Ameyibor also appealed to corporate bodies and public and private institutions to support and organise free breast cancer screening for their staff.