January is for Cervical Cancer Awareness Month!
Generation Health Joins the Cervical Cancer Awareness Movement
Compliments of the new season! A time we plan for the year and what a better time to keep urging women to get screened for cervical cancer. According to the Lancet Journal, “each year, more than half a million women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and the disease results in over 300 000 deaths worldwide.” To bring it closer to home it accounts for close to one third of cancers in Black Zimbabwean women and is also the number one cause of cancer deaths in Zimbabwe.
“It is very important to keep spreading the message of early detection to save more lives.’ said Albert Musakwa – Managing Director at Generation Health, “By increasing awareness of screening and prevention measures, the efforts to eradicate cervical cancer can be realised.” In Zimbabwe screening sites include, Government, City Council, Mission clinics and hospitals that are offering VIAC testing and Private Clinics and Hospitals around the country.
What is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix — the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. Cervical cancer is among a number of cancers that can be caused by infections with pathogens – bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Most cases of the disease are caused by exposure to human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. Other strains include, having multiple sexual partners or a partner with multiple sexual partners, unprotected sex, and immunosuppression from conditions such as HIV infection among others.
The body’s immune system typically prevents HPV from doing harm in a small percentage of people, however, the virus survives for years, contributing to the process that causes some cervical cells to become cancer cells. Moreover, regular screening with Pap smear tests and VIAC tests which stands for Visual Inspection with Acetic acid and Cervicography is recommended for women from the age of 21 years who are or have been sexually active. This can result in detection of cervical cancer in the precancerous or the early stages which are curable.
You can therefore reduce your risk of developing cervical cancer by having any of the screening tests we mentioned above. Another way of reducing risk is through vaccination against the HPV virus which is offered to young girls mostly between the ages of 11 to 13 years of age to protect them against the HPV virus infection.
What’s the way forward?
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month. Be involved!
As Generation Health we have partnered with Cancer Care Network Trust to bring to you a hybrid Breakfast Meeting. We will be hosting the Cervical Cancer Awareness event at Meikles Hotel on Friday 29 January at 9 am. The proceedings will be live on a Virtual Meeting, the Meeting ID: 896 0706 1790 and Passcode: 809 753. To those who wish to be in physical attendance at the venue the cover charge is $USD20.
It is going to be a 4-panel discussion, with the following guest speakers: Dr Bothwell Takaingofa Guzha (Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist), Venus Mushinga (Pharmacist & Pubic Health Practioner), Dr Chido Rwafa Madzamutse (Specialist Psychiatrist), Dr Audrey Chivaura (Family Consultant) and the Host Sam Nyaude. There will also be a guest performance from the talented Feli Nandi and the band. Mark the date and spread the word!
The aim of the event is to raise awareness on cervical cancer and encourage women to look after their health. We encourage every woman to get annual screening, HPV vaccination, practice safe sex, know your HIV status, avoid using vaginal herbs, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
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