Nigeria: 'Regular Screening Saves Lives From Cervical Cancer'

22 January 2020

The Medical Director of Encee Medical Centre, Victoria Island, Dr Nenoi Umeh has raised alarm over increasing deaths from cervical cancer in Nigeria annually.

Speaking on Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, Umeh described cervical cancer as the most common genital cancer and one of the leading causes of cancer death among the female population.

"Cancer kills over 9000 women every year in Nigeria while more than 75 percent of patients are diagnosed at advanced stages leading to poor prospects of long-term survival and cure. This can be significantly reduced by vaccination and regular screening.

"As in many cancers, women may have no signs or symptoms until it has progressed to a dangerous stage. Cervical cancer has a detectable precancerous stage which makes it treatable. This is why we encourage women to go for their routine screening to ensure early detection."

She disclosed that the risk of contracting HPV, which causes cervical cancer, can be increased by having many sexual partners, having sex at a young age, having other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), a weak immune system and smoking.

"Asides screening, there are currently vaccines that protect against common cancer-causing types of human papillomavirus, HPV. These vaccines can prevent up to 90 percent of cervical cancers. We provide vaccines and offer screenings at our facility. We are an outpatient-based facility focused on providing standard healthcare solutions in primary health care, women's health and sexual health care.

"Alongside pap screening and evaluation of abnormal pap smear, other gender-specific conditions women face such as female sexual dysfunction, menstrual abnormalities, contraception counselling and provision of different contraceptive options, vaginitis, STD testing and treatment, among others," she explained.

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