By Solanke Ayomideji Taiwo, ABEOKUTA –
An Oncologist with the Jacaranda cancer centre, Dr Kehinde Ololade has educated Nigerians on the causes of Cervical Cancer, the sign and symptoms, and how to possibly manage it on a live radio program on Splash 106.7 Fm today 18th of January 2024.
Jacaranda Cancer Center, a company which specializes in radiation Oncology, clinical oncology and nuclear medicine situated in Nigeria.
According to Ololade, Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally with an estimated 604 000 new cases and 342 000 deaths in 2020. In Nigeria 12000 new cases and 8000 deaths were recorded in 2020. The highest rates of cervical cancer incidence and mortality are in low- and middle-income countries which reflected major inequities driven by lack of access to national HPV vaccination, cervical screening and treatment services and social and economic determinant.
While highlighting the causes, he said Cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Women living with HIV are 5 times more likely to develop cervical cancer compared to women without HIV, Prophylactic vaccination against HPV and screening and treatment of pre-cancer lesions are effective ways to prevent cervical cancer and are very cost-effective.
“Cancer can be cured if diagnosed at an early stage and treated promptly, Countries around the world are working to accelerate the elimination of cervical cancer in the coming decades, with an agreed set of three targets to be met by 2030.” Said Ololade.
When asked how to prevent cervical cancer by the radio presenter, Dr. Kehinde Ololade said the ways to prevent cervical cancer is through boosting of public awareness, access to information and services are key to prevention and control across the life course.
He said, Being vaccinated at age 9–14 years is a very effective way to prevent HPV infection, cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers, Screening every 3 years of 30 (25 years in women living with HIV) Women living with HIV are 5 times more likely to have cervical cancer, which when treated, also prevents cervical cancer, At any age with symptoms or concerns, early detection followed by prompt quality treatment can cure cervical cancer.
However, he said women should be screened for cervical cancer every 3 to 5 years starting at age 21. Women living with HIV should be screened every 3 years starting at age 21. The global strategy encourages a minimum of two lifetime screens with a high-performance HPV test by age 35 and again by age 45 years. Precancers rarely cause symptoms, which is why regular cervical cancer screening is important, even if you have been vaccinated against HPV.
Also, Self-collection of a sample for HPV testing, which may be a preferred choice for women, has been shown to be as reliable as samples collected by healthcare providers.
After a positive HPV test (or other screening method) a healthcare provider can look for changes on the cervix (such as precancers) which may develop into cervical cancer if left untreated. Treatment of precancers is a simple procedure and prevents cervical cancer. Treatment may be offered in the same visit (the see and treat approach) or after a second test (the see, triage and treat approach), which is especially recommended for women living with HIV.
He concluded that treatments of precancers are quick and generally painless causing infrequent complications. Treatment steps include colposcopy or visual inspection of the cervix to locate and assess the lesion followed by thermal ablation, which involves using a heated probe to burn off cells, cryotherapy, which involves using a cold probe to freeze off the cells, LEETZ (large loop excision of the transformation zone), which involves removing your abnormal tissues with an electrically heated loop; and/or, a cone biopsy, which involves using a knife to remove a cone-shaped wedge of tissue. There is also the role for surgery and chemotherapy in the management of cervical cancer.