Uganda is emerging as one of the countries with the highest prevalence of cervical cancer in the whole world.
According to the Uganda Cancer Society, at least 45 women of every 100,000 develop the scourge while the global incidence is just 15 women of every 100,000 women per year.
But despite the dark cloud over our motherland, there is still plenty of room to fight. First off, like all other cancers, Cervical Cancer is named after the part of the body where it starts – the Cervix and is caused by an abnormal growth of cells that eventually spread to other parts of the body.
According to Dr. Moses Mugisha, an Obstetrician at Roswell Women’s Clinic, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer accounting for 97% of the cases.
Mugisha adds that all sexually active women are at risk but those over the age of 40 years are at an even higher risk.
“Cervical cancer is one of the easiest cancers to curb. It is curable if detected and treated early enough,” Mugisha says adding that “While cervical cancer may not present early symptoms, it is advisable that any unfamiliar vaginal discharge or bleeding should be followed by immediate medical attention.”
Mugisha further advises women to see a doctor regularly for a Pap test that can find cervical pre-cancers and follow up if your Pap test results are not normal, get the HPV vaccine (both girls and boys should receive the vaccine to effectively curb the spread).
The vaccine protects against the types of HPV that most often causes cervical and other gynecological cancers.
He also advises not to smoke, practice safe sex and to cut one’s sexual partners to limit the risk of contraction or spread.
At top health facilities such as Roswell Women’s Clinic that have a portable “EVA Colpo,” Mugisha notes that detection and treatment of cervical cancer is even easier as the tool can detect cervical cancer based off a single image.
“This means that women can get screened with no downtime” he said.