The Founder of the Al-Hayaat Foundation, Hajia Hanatu Abubakar-Bimi has urged women to seek for early screening to detect signs of cervical cancer and fight the spread of the devastating disease peculiar to womanhood.
According to her, cervical cancer is a silent killer because of symptoms often appears when the disease is in an advanced stage which can take years to develop.
She made this observation during a cervical cancer awareness programme held for students of the Archbishop Porter Girls Secondary School (APGSS) in Cape Coast under the theme “Regenerating Health and Nutrition to prevent Cervical Cancer.” The programme was organised to create awareness among females students in second cycle schools.
Hajia Abubakar-Bimi said cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, with about 500,000 new cases diagnosed and 250,000 deaths each year adding that Africa women die every two minutes and in Ghana, probably everyday.
She averred that despite the alarming statistics, not much was heard of in terms of education on cervical cancer. “Women have been left in the dark for too long; that is why Al-Hayaat foundation is embarking on a journey to educate and create the awareness among women on cervical cancer,” she emphasized.
The Al-Hayaat Foundation Founder also pointed out that, women who undergo annual pelvic examinations and Pap smears have a greater chance of detecting any abnormalities or cancerous tissue during the early stages, which can play a crucial role regarding the chances of treating the cancer successfully.
She entreated students to be ambassadors within their communities by educating their mothers and sisters on the disease by encouraging them to go for regular screening for the detection of early abnormalities, saying “In many developing countries cervical cancer is not only the most frequently occurring cancer among middle-aged women, but also a leading cause of death, partly due to poor access to medical care and the unavailability of routine screening in many of these countries.”
Mrs Louisa Aggrey headmistress of the school advised the students to abstain from premature sexual intercourse in order to avoid contracting the disease. She added that of the women fellowship said forum should be created to enlighten women more on cervical cancer.
Mrs. Aggrey advised Ghanaian women to avail themselves of regular screening to ensure the early detection and treatment of the disease, stressing that in developed countries, the widespread use of cervical screening programmes had reduced the incidence of invasive cervical cancer by 50% or more.
A Cytotechnologist at the School of Allied Health Sciences (SAHS) at Korle-buTeaching hospital, Mr. Adams Abdul Rashid also advised the students to join the train to campaign against cervical cancer.
Mr Abdul Rashid in his address gave some of the factors that caused cervical cancer as early sex, number of sexual partners in life, cigarette smoking, suffering persistent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and a high number of pregnancies, among others.