Cancer doesn’t kill someone in a day, no, cancer kills you as you are walking, carrying water cans on your back, as you are gathering firewood, as you are swirling the uji for your children; it is slowly chewing you, slowly growing inside you, spreading from the cervix down to the vagina, then to the other organs. All this time, there is no pain, no weakness, no bleeding, all this time, you are perfectly alright. By the time you get the symptoms, by the time you start bleeding after sex, the cancer has grown, it has probably spread to other organs, this is also the time you walk to the hospital, ten years too late. The doctors look and shake their heads, the disease is too advanced, surgery cannot be done, only chemo, and even after chemo, there is no hope of more than five years of life.
But cervical cancer can be prevented and even cured if caught early. This is why I am once again reminding the womenfolk, young and old about the need for screening, for it is only through screening that we can catch cervical cancer early enough. Women aged twenty one years and above, plus those who are younger than twenty one but are sexually active should start going for screening.
The most popular method of screening is Pap smear, but other methods, such as inspection, which is available for free in our level four (county) hospitals, can also be used. For adolescent girls who are not yet sexually active, vaccines against the causative virus are available. The vaccines, Cervarix and Gardasil are given in three doses, at 0, 2 and 6 months. The vaccines are not available in the public hospitals, but one can order for them via a pharmacy at a cost of between three thousand to five thousand shillings. Women aged between 9-26 years are eligible for the vaccine.
Remember cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer related deaths among women Kenya, and in Africa generally. But the good news is that, it can be prevented, it can also be cured, but we need to catch it early.
Comment with Facebook Below