Kathmandu, January 26
As the world is celebrating Cervical Health Awareness Month to raise awareness on cervical cancer, a large number of women continue to suffer from disease in the country.
As per Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital, six patients are diagnosed with cervical cancer at the hospital each week. Lack of pelvic examination and public awareness on cervical cancer are mainly to blame for increased number of cervical cancer patients in the country.
“Of all cervical cancer cases reported at the hospital, only one or two cases are detected at an early stage. And this makes a difference in successful treatment of the disease. Most patients come to us when the diseases have already reached an advanced stage,” said Dr Eliza Shrestha Pradhan, PhD, MD, Gynaecology Oncologist, Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital.
Women in the age groups of 34 to 39 years and 64 to 69 years are more prone to the disease. Causes and risk factors of cervical cancer include human papilloma virus (HPV) infection, sex in early age and with multiple partners, smoking, rampant use of birth control pills, and frequent pregnancies, according to the doctor. “Common symptoms and signs of cervical cancer are abnormal vaginal bleeding, increased vaginal discharge, bleeding after going through menopause, pain during sex, and pelvic pain. Anyone showing these symptoms is advised to visit hospitals immediately,” the doctor said.
“Cancer of cervix, however, can be detected at precancerous stage through screening with Pap smear test. The disease can be prevented and successfully treated if the cancer is diagnosed in an early stage,” said Dr Pradhan.
Forty women have been performing Pap smear test each day at the hospital. Any woman involved in sex or any female of reproductive age should undergo Pap smear test once every one to three years to prevent cervical cancer.
As per World Health Organisation, cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 5,30,000 new cases in 2012 representing 7.5 per cent of all female cancer deaths, globally. Of the estimated number, more than 2,70,000 deaths resulted from cervical cancer every year and more than 85 per cent of these deaths occurred in less developed countries.
A version of this article appears in print on January 27, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.