Cervical Cancer: A preventable tragedy with a glimmer of hope

Every two minutes, a woman loses her life to cervical cancer. This tragedy doesn’t have to be. This cancer is preventable and curable if caught early. But the harsh reality is that poverty, lack of access to healthcare, and HIV infection unfairly push more women towards this disease.

Africa faces a grim picture:

  • Mortality rates 18 times higher than the global average.
  • Over 10,000 women affected annually, with almost 6,000 deaths.
  • Women with HIV six times more likely to develop cervical cancer.

But there’s hope! The WHO’s global strategy aims to eliminate this disease by:

  • Vaccinating 90% of girls with HPV vaccine by age 15.
  • Screening 70% of women twice with high-performance tests.
  • Treating 90% of identified cases.

This could save 15 million lives by 2030 and prevent 62 million deaths by 2120.

HPV, the main culprit, mostly clears naturally. But sometimes, it lingers, causing cervical cell changes that, if left untreated, can lead to cancer.

The HPV vaccine is our weapon:

  • One dose protects girls from developing cervical cancer.
  • South Africa’s teen vaccination rate is promising (61%).

For adult women, cervical screening is crucial. Over the past five years, 50% of South African women over 30 have been screened.

Self-testing for Cervical Cancer: Hope is on the horizon

Just like HIV self-testing, new technology and lessons learned from COVID-19 are opening doors for early detection of cervical cancer. This could mean women checking themselves using simple tests, making screening easier and more accessible, especially in areas with limited resources.

For South Africa to truly fight cervical cancer, it needs:

  • Community education and awareness: Make sure women know about and want screening.
  • Faster adoption of self-testing: This technology can reach more women and empower them to take charge.
  • Affordable, locally made tests: So everyone who needs screening can get it.

Let’s fight for a future where no woman dies from a preventable cancer. Let’s talk, educate, and act.

FIND organisation is a worldwide charity that helps everyone get the medical tests they need. They work with many different groups, like countries, communities, and doctors, to make sure tests are accurate and available to everyone, no matter where they live.

Read more health articles:

Why selective ignorance makes sense

Menopause: How soya can reduce hot flashes

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *