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HEWAN, Sebeccly collaborate on cervical cancer screening for women, girls

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As part of efforts to reduce cervical cancer among Nigerian women, Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre in partnership with Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN), over weekend, carried out free screening for women and girls as part of Sebeccly 1K Cervix Campaign to screen 1000 women for breast and cervical cancers.

Speaking at the free screening held during a monthly programme of HEWAN, tagged “Meet Health Writers Forum”. Chief Executive Officer of Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre, Dr. Omolola Salako, insisted that early detection through screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions remained the best possible protection against cancer of the cervix.

Salako described Cervical Cancer as the most common female cancer among women in Nigeria after breast cancer, caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) transmitted through sex, and it could cause an infection in the cervix (the neck of the womb).

She said that it would take 10 to 15 years for the cells of the cervix to grow abnormal and become cancerous.

According to her, this window period is when screening is done to detect any abnormality in the cervix and prevent cervical cancer.

She advised that a woman could reduce the risk of cervical cancer by delaying age of first sexual experience, avoid multiple sexual partners, alcohol and smoking.

“The girl-child should be vaccinated with the HPV vaccine at age nine and women should go for regular screening. Cervical cancer is the easiest female cancer to prevent and the death rate is unacceptable, “ she said.

Salako said there was the need to improve the awareness and treatment of this silent killer amongst women.

A consultant oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Kehinde Okunade, said that no fewer than 9,000 Nigerian women die yearly as a result of cervical cancer and cervical cancer.

Okunade who is also a Director, Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre, said that cervical cancer was killing more people worldwide than Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), tuberculosis, and malaria put together.

Okuade said: “Over 14, 550 Nigerian women are inflicted with HPV — the major cause of cancer of the cervix.

“In spite of this statistics, there is evidence that utilisation of screening for prevention of the disease is poor in Nigeria.

“I am calling on women of reproductive age to observe regular cervical cancer screening because any woman who is sexually active is at risk.”


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