Cervical cancer termed 3rd most frequent killer disease in women

ISLAMABAD Cervical cancer is the third leading cause of deaths among women globally after breast and lung caner and in terms of prevalence it is the second most common cancer in women. Health experts expressed these views here on Wednesday while addressing a media briefing on Cervical Cancer is Preventable organized by Health Awareness Society (HAS). Speaking on the occasion, Dr Ghazala Mehmood, Gynecologist at Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) informed the global burden of Cervical Cancer is around 500,000 cases and over 27,000 women deaths annually, this come to one mortality, after every two minutes. Estimates shows that up to 80 percent women will acquire the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection in their lifetime and a staggering 80 percent of deaths related to cervical cancer occur in developing countries like Pakistan. The cancer affects the cervix of the neck of the womb and is caused by persistent infection with the HPV she added. Dr Ghazala pointed out that HPV infections are not only very common but also transmissible, while most infections are cleared, this is likely, as a woman gets older. Highlighting the cancer causing virus types on one hand and the low risk virus types on the other hand, Dr Ghazala said that there are at least 15 high-risk HPV types and two of theses account for over 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. Addressing the gathering, Professor of Paediatrics at the Child Hospital, PIMS, Dr Tabish Hazir pointed out that Pakistan has moved from a low risk to a moderate risk country for cervical cancer, with gradually increasing incidence, especially in younger women with cancer already at an advanced stage when presenting for diagnosis. Highlighting statistics from a study he said that Pakistans incidence of cervical cancer in 2008 reached 19.5 per 100,000 compared to less than 9 per 100,000 in 2002. In the same study, cervical cancer deaths stood at 12.9 per 100,000, nationally, in spite of eligibility for international funding under the WHO-GAVI programme, the political will to set up cervical vaccination at the community level seems lacking he added He opined that healthcare providers should be sensitised to highlight health issues like cervical cancer so that preventive measures could be taken adding that such health issues like cervical cancer should be in national health care policy.

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