Cervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women in Nigeria. It literally kills one woman every hour and over 9000 women every year. For a preventable disease, these statistics are unacceptable.
Let’s start with the basics:
What is the cervix?
It is the lower cylindrical part of the uterus (womb).
What is cervical cancer?
It is cancer that forms in the cells of the cervix.
It is usually slow-growing and takes years to develop. To discover abnormal changes in the cervix, you’d need to have a cervical screening.
Cervical cancer is almost always caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
There are over 100 strains of HPV, but not all of them cause cancer. Some are low-risk and cause conditions like genital warts.
The high-risk HPV types 16 and 18 are responsible for more than 70% of all cervical cancers.
How can you protect yourself and your daughter against cervical cancer?
Preventing cervical cancer is not as difficult as you imagine it to be.
Once you become sexually active, you are at risk for HPV infection because the virus is quite common.
Infection with HPV may not have any symptoms for years, making it almost impossible to know if you have it and from whom you got it.
This is why cervical screening is necessary. It allows your doctor to detect abnormal changes in your cervix early and treat them appropriately.
Taking the HPV vaccine adds another layer of prevention. And you and your daughters from 10 years old can get vaccinated.
Cervical cancer is a disease that can affect any lady. The Human Papillomavirus is the main culprit responsible.
I know any mention of cancer always sends shivers down your spine, but guess what? There is good news. If you are up to date with your cervical screening and can get vaccinated, you are already one step ahead of the disease.
Mothers, it is well within your power to protect yourself and your daughters from getting cervical cancer.
Dr. Ayodele Akenzua is a medical entrepreneur and the CEO of THEFEMALEDOC LTD.
She is committed to detecting and preventing cervical cancer, the second most common gynaecological cancer affecting women.
She has helped over 20,000 women through cervical screening, HPV vaccination, and treatment of cervical dysplasia using cryotherapy.
She has also trained several medical providers to develop the procedural skill set of screening and use of colposcopy.
She writes medical articles for international blogs and is a self-taught graphic designer when she isn’t attending to her patients.
You can reach Dr Ayodele Akenzua on Instagram and on twitter with the handle @thefemaledocltd. Whatsapp is +2348062616951.