Women in Tana River have been asked to shun myths about cervical cancer and to instead visit health centers for cervical cancer screening for early detection and effective management.
Speaking at the Hola Referral Hospital, Clinical Officer in the cancer unit Kazungu Mlewa, said many women shied from screening associating cancer with sorcery.
“Data on screening is scanty, many cases are not brought to hospitals, there are many myths. I request the residents of Tana River to come forward in large numbers, cancer is not sorcery, it is a disease,” said Mlewa.
The medic disclosed that uptake of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine in the county is low with only 30 percent of girls aged nine to fourteen years immunized with the first dose and 20 percent for the second dose.
“The onus is on parents and guardians to ensure their girls get the HPV vaccine to protect them against cervical cancer. Those who are outside the vaccine age bracket should come for early screening before the onset of symptoms for effective management,” said Mlewa.
Cervical cancer affects the cervix with the cells proliferate abnormally, eventually causing a woman to have a tumor at the bottom of the cervix.
Mlewa noted that Cervical Cancer is 100 percent preventable because the cause is known. He advised girls to abstain from sex and only engage in it when they are married, limit the number of sexual partners, eat a healthy diet, and seek treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
He further said, “Cervical Cancer affects women, it is a sexually transmitted disease and the cause is the Human Papilloma Virus. Those at risk are sexually active women; the most vulnerable are girls who engage in sexual intercourse at a young age and those with multiple sexual partners and (STDs).”
Common Cervical cancer symptoms are abnormal discharge, post-coital bleeding and bleeding by postmenopausal women.
Mlewa advised any woman who experiences the symptoms to visit a health facility for examination.
By Sadik Hassan