WORLD CANCER DAY- WHO warns on rising cervical cancer deaths

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    ….Estimated 14,943 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in Nigeria

    ….10,403 die from the disease.

    MON, FEBRUARY 04 2019-theG&BJournal-The World Health Organisation said rising cervical cancer deaths is undermining health gains for women made in maternal health and HIV care and current disparity in survival from cervical cancer, which varies between 33-77%, is unacceptable and can be minimized.

    WHO said cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and curable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively.

    ‘’We can reduce new diagnoses in two ways, HPV vaccination and screening of the cervix with follow on treatment of early changes before cancer appears’’

    In Nigeria it is estimated that each year 14,943 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and   10,403 die from the disease.  It is ranked as the 2nd most frequent cancer among women in Nigeria and the 2nd most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.

    According to experts, about 3.5% of women in the general population are estimated to harbour cervical HPV-16/18 infection at a given time, and66.9% of invasive cervical cancers are attributed to HPVs 16or 18.

    According to WHO, cervical cancer is one of the greatest threats to women’s health. Nine in 10 women who die from cervical cancer are in poor countries. This means some of the most vulnerable women in our world are dying unnecessarily.

    In May 2018, WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made a global call for action towards the elimination of cervical cancer.

    This is in line with the targets of WHO’s General Programme of Work: 1 billion more people benefiting from universal health coverage; 1 billion more people better protected from health emergencies; and 1 billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.

    Urgent action is needed to scale up implementation of proven cost-effective measures towards the elimination of cervical cancer as a global public health problem, WHO said. These actions include vaccination against human papillomavirus, screening and treatment of pre-cancer, early detection and prompt treatment of early invasive cancers and palliative care.

    ‘’This will require political commitment and greater international cooperation and support for equitable access, including strategies for resource mobilization.’’

    WHO said, currently, most women diagnosed with cervical cancer are diagnosed with advanced cancers, where opportunity for cure is small. This is compounded by lack of access to life-saving treatment in settings where the burden and need is highest.

    The world health body reckons that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and curable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively.

    ‘’We can reduce new diagnoses in two ways, HPV vaccination and screening of the cervix with follow on treatment of early changes before cancer appears.’’

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