An Oncologist, Kehinde Okunade, has said that no fewer than 9,000 Nigerian women die yearly as a result of cervical cancer.
Mr. Okunade, Director of Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre made the disclosure at a Health Sensitisation and Screening for Health Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) in Lagos on Saturday.
According to him, cervical cancer had killed more people worldwide than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria put together.
“More than 14, 550 Nigerian women are infected with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), the major cause of cancer of the cervix.
“In spite of this statistics, there is evidence that utilisation of screening for prevention of the disease is poor in Nigeria.
“I am calling on women of reproductive age to observe regular cervical cancer screening because any woman who is sexually active is at risk,’’ Okunade said.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer of Sebeccly, Omolola Salako, said that early detection through screening and treatment of pre-cancerous lesions remained the best possible protection against cancer of the cervix.
Ms. Salako said that it would take 10 to 15 years for the cells of the cervix to grow abnormal and become cancerous.
She said the window period was “when screening is done to detect any abnormality in the cervix and prevent cervical cancer’’.
Ms. Salako advised that women could reduce the risk of cervical cancer by avoiding multiple sexual partners and smoking.
“The girl-child should be vaccinated with the HPV vaccine at age nine and women should go for regular screening.
“Cervical cancer is the easiest female cancer to prevent and the death rate is unacceptable,” she said.