Cervical Cancer Kills 260,000 Women Annually, Says health officials
By Adam Drammeh.
Mamading Kinteh, program officer Expanded Immunization Unit at the Ministry of Health has said that in the global level, cervical cancer killed at least 260,000 women annually.
“It is the most common cancer among women in The Gambia. Globally, cervical cancer kills 260,000 women annually. Cervical cancer is a cancer [abnormal growth of cell] in the cervix [opening of the womb],” she added.
According to officials, Cervical cancer is caused by a sexually Transmitted virus called Human Papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can also cause genital warts in both men and women and other cancers of the anus, vagina, penis, vulva and throat.
In the Gambia, she said, cervical cancer is the most common killer disease among women. “The primary cause of cancer deaths among women accounts for 32% of all cancer in women and is 12% prevalence of Human Papilloma virus infection in 2018”.
She made these revelations recently during a press conference at the Central Medical Store in Kotu. She further explained that most of the people with HPV do not have any signs or symptoms and are unaware of the infection. In most cases, HPV infection will clear on its own. “However, persistent infection can lead to Cervical Cancer include abdominal vaginal bleeding, abdominal vagina discharge and back and pelvic pain”. She added
Madam Kinteh added that cervical cancer can be treated if detected early. She revealed that a total of 147,708 girls in Grade 3 and out- of- school girls aged 9-14 years are expected to be vaccinated against HPV with each receiving 2 doses to be fully protected with an interval of at least 6 months.
Buya Jallow, Immunization Officer at UNICEF, said with the vaccine, all eligible girls have the opportunity to be prevented from HPV. “At the moment, we are targeting Grade 3 girls and out-of-school peers age 9-14. If we continue this, we have an opportunity to eliminate cervical cancer in the next generation,” she noted.
The immunization officer said the vaccination will take place at all public and private schools in The Gambia, including Madrasas. “Vaccination will also be available in health facilities and communities for girls who are out of school. The vaccine is FREE for all girls in Grade 3 and their out of school peers aged 9-14yrs.”