Over 400 women in Yaounde have been advised to go for early screening for cervcal cancer, so that they can detect early symptoms and commence treatment.
The caution was made recenty by some health experts at the Yaounde Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgery and Human Reproductive Teaching Hospital also known as CHRACERH.
Speaking to some of the women at the center, the medics advised them to keep getting regular Pap tests (cervical smear) at least once every three years or every five years with the Pap and HPV (human papillomavirus) tests.
Women were also cautioned against smoking which harms all of the body’s cells, including cervical cells. The most common risk factors for cervical cancer include an early age of first intercourse, having multiple sex partners, and having experienced a weakened immune system. Cervical cancer is most often diagnosed in women in their late 30s. It can, however, be diagnosed in younger as well as older women.
According to the World Health Organisation, WHO, in 2008, there were more than 530,000 new cases of cervical cancer worldwide and 275,000 deaths from cervical cancers with over 90 percent recorded in developing countries. In the WHO African region, 75,000 new cases were recorded in the same year and 50,000 women died of the disease.
According to statistics, in Cameroon, more and more women are presenting symptoms of cervical cancer yearly. Unfortunately, deaths are estimated at 50 percent; that is 500 women die from cervical cancer every year, according to Dr. Pierre-Marie Tebeu, gynaecological cancer specialist at the Yaounde University Teaching Hospital. WHO has warned that annual global cancer deaths would jump to 17 million by 2030, from a projected 7.6 million this year if people do not take urgent action to avoid risk factors.