According to statistics, three thousand Ghanaian women were diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, out of which 1500 women die due to late reporting at the hospitals.
The Minister for Health, Mr Alex Segbefia thus has advised women to report early cases of cancer as soon as they detect any symptom.
He revealed that the MoH had developed a five year national strategy for cancer control which outlined the key strategies for control and prevention of the major cancers in the country, adding that various interventions, like primary prevention of the disease through awareness, encouraging pap smearing at the teaching hospitals, screening and visual inspection with acetic acid were being implemented.
‘Currently, there are two national cancer centres in the country that offer comprehensive cancer services including radiotherapy and can be located in the two teaching hospitals; Korle –Bu in Accra and Komfo Anokye Teaching hospital in Kumasi, Ashanti Region’ Mr Segbefia noted.
The Minister was speaking at a Public Lecture organised for women working in the health sector on cervical cancer to commemorate the International Women’s Day held in Accra, on Tuesday.
Mr Segbefia explained that this year’s celebration was targeted at creating awareness about the disease since it was low, as well as encouraging women to screen and report early cases of Cervical and Breast Cancer.
In her submission on the Role of Women in National Development, the Deputy Director for Ghana Health Service, Dr Gloria Quansah Asare described women as peace brokers, who have held homes and communities together, during crisis or good times.
She was of the opinion that, for a country to grow, it was necessary to involve women in either leadership positions or decision making, so they could help champion the course.
Dr Asare charged men to support women and the girl child reach their full potential and contribute their quota to development by helping them overcome some challenges like menstruation which made them miss out on work and school respectively since it was inevitable.
Cervical cancer can often be found early, and sometimes even prevented entirely, by having regular Pap tests. If detected early, cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable cancers.
Signs and symptoms
Women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers usually have no symptoms. Symptoms often do not begin until the cancer becomes invasive and grows into nearby tissue. When this happens, the most common symptoms are:
Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding after vaginal intercourse, bleeding after menopause, bleeding and spotting between periods, and having (menstrual) periods that are longer or heavier than usual. Bleeding after douching or after a pelvic exam may also occur.
An unusual discharge from the vagina − the discharge may contain some blood and may occur between your periods or after menopause.
Pain during intercourse.
These signs and symptoms can also be caused by conditions other than cervical cancer. For example, an infection can cause pain or bleeding. Still, if you have any of these signs or other suspicious symptoms, you should see your health care professional right away. Ignoring symptoms may allow the cancer to progress to a more advanced stage and lower your chance for effective treatment.
Even better, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Have Pap tests and pelvic exams.
Credit: Chantal Aidoo/Ghanahealthnest.com