Kampala – The Ministry of Health has joined the rest of the world to celebrate the first ever global commitment to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem.
Cervical cancer is a malignant tumour of the cervix, the lowermost part of the uterus.
Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Uganda with more than 4,300 deaths and 6,400 new cases recorded in 2018. Cervical cancer is largely preventable through simple and inexpensive interventions such as vaccination and effective screening, but uptake of these cost-effective measures has been low in Uganda.
The Ministry has established a National Cervical Cancer Control Programme with a comprehensive strategy to defeat cervical cancer using a three-pronged approach that includes;
• Primary prevention through introduction and scale up of vaccination of young girls in and out of school against Human Papillomavirus (HPV) — the primary cause of cervical cancer
• Secondary prevention through screen-and-treat interventions, allowing for early detection and treatment of pre-cancer and targeting most-at-risk women who may have been exposed to HPV, in order to prevent progression to cancer
• Tertiary prevention through detection of cancer and referral for diagnosis and treatment with surgery, radiotherapy and/ or chemotherapy, and palliative care for patients who need it, targeting all women with suspected or confirmed cancer.
There may be no symptoms and In a few cases, there may be irregular bleeding or pain, Dr Atwine said.
A malignant tumour of the lower-most part of the uterus (womb) can be prevented by PAP smear screening and a HPV vaccine. Other treatments also include include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
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