News Analysis

Early Detection and Treatment of Cervical Cancer

Cervical cancer is a malignant tumor of the cervix, the lower most of the womb connecting the uterus with the vagina.

It occurs when the cells of the cervix grow abnormally and invade other tissues and organs of the body.

Report indicates that globally, a woman dies of cervical cancer every two minutes around the world.

Cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated five hundred and seventy thousand new cases in 2018 worldwide representing over six percent of female cancers.

Ninety percent of deaths from cervical cancer occurred in low and middle income countries.

As in many cancers, there may be no sign or symptoms of cervical cancer until it has progressed to a dangerous stage.

When it is invasive, it affects the deeper tissues of the cervix and may spread to other parts of the body like the lungs, liver, bladder, vagina and rectum.

According to report, most women diagnosed with pre-cancerous changes in the cervix are in their twenties and thirties while the average age of women with cervical cancer is the mid-fifties.    

Causes of cervical cancer are birth control pills, early sexual contact, multiple sexual partners and cigarette smoking.

Symptoms of cervical cancer are irregular menstrual cycle, abnormal vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse, back, leg or pelvic pain, fatigue and weight loss.

Loss of appetite, vaginal discomfort or odourous discharge and swollen leg can manifest in cervical cancer cases.

Treatment of cervical cancer depends on the stage, it includes surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Screening aims to detect pre-cancerous changes, which if not treated, may lead to cancer.

According to World Health Organisation, W.H.O, the high mortality rate from cervical cancer can be reduced through a comprehensive approach that include prevention, early diagnosis, effective screening and treatment programmes.

There are vaccines that protect against common cancer causing types of human papilloma virus and can significantly reduce the risk of cervical cancer.

In 2017, it was reported that about forty million women aged more than fifteen years in Nigeria are at the risk of developing cervical cancer.

Another report by World Health Organisation says that the number of Nigerian women suffering from cervical cancer annually was over fourteen thousand making it the second leading cause of cancer deaths.

Health experts noted that screening should be performed at least once for every woman in the age group of thirty to forty nine years.

To reduce the impact of cervical cancer therefore testing, screening and treatment should be subsidized by the government to make it accessible for more women.

Upgrading the public hospitals across the country, will lessen the stress encountered during screening for cervical cancer.    

Titilayo Kupoliyi


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