KEETMANSHOOP – Cervical cancer is on the rise in Namibia and this has made the government to regard the disease a public health concern, said //Kharas Regional Council chairperson, Jan Scholtz.
He made these remarks at the official ceremony of a cervical cancer screening campaign recently held at Lüderitz.
Scholtz emphasised the campaign served as a platform to raise awareness and sensitise stakeholders and the community of Lüderitz in particular, about cervical cancer.
“This campaign further aims to test women and treat those who need treatment for pre-cancers of the cervix,” he further explained.
He urged stakeholders to encourage women to take care of their reproductive health systems through getting tested regularly for cervical cancer.
“They (women) form the pillars of our society and as they are mothers nurturing future generations, we should strive towards preserving their lives so that they can continue taking care of our families,” Scholtz encouraged.
Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths amongst women worldwide, including Namibia.
It is mostly caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted through sexual contact.
It can furthermore be cleared by the body in a short time, but if not this virus can cause changes to the cervix which may result in cancer.
HIV-positive women are at risk of cervical cancer as the HPV virus is less likely to be cleared by their bodies.
Other risk factors for cervical cancer include early sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, smoking and a family history of cancer.
This type of cancer is nowadays preventable and treatable through regular screening and the timeous removal of pre-cancerous cells.
According to health experts, it is advisable that women above 50 years of age should go for screening if they have not done so before.
These screening and treatment are free at government health facilities countrywide.
The ministry of health in 2018 introduced a new screening method called Visualization and Inspection of the cervix with acetic acid, which provides results instantly.
The Lüderitz hospital started providing these services since August 2019, whereby 272 women have been screened within the district so far.