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31.03.2011 Health

Every two minutes a woman dies of cervical cancer- Dr Hiadzi

By GNA
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March 30, 2011
Accra, March 29, GNA - Dr Edem Hiadzi, Medical Director of Lister Hospital on Tuesday said statistics available indicated that every two minutes a woman dies of Cervical Cancer worldwide.

He noted that the disease was the second most common cancer affecting women worldwide and accounting for about 10 per cent of all cancer cases.

Dr Hiadzi announced this at a sensitisation programme on the "effects of Cervical and Prostate Cancer on Reproductive Health of Individuals" for students of the Central University College, at Prampram in the Greater Accra Region.

He said the programme was part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of the hospital to educate the public on issues affecting their health.

"Cervical Cancer develops in the cervix, the low, narrow neck of the uterus that opens into the vagina," he said.

In addition, he said the disease was of vital importance because it prevents infections from reaching the uterus.

He explained that cervix plays a major role in pregnancy and birth stages, adding that it lengthens during pregnancy serving as a barrier to protect the foetus and also expands during child birth to allow the baby to pass through.

On the causes of Cervical Cancer, Dr Hiadzi said, it was caused by a virus called Human Papillomavirus (HPV) which was transmitted during sexual intercourse and sometimes through intimate genital skin to skin contact.

"Every sexually active women risk catching the virus. In fact up to 80 per cent of women will be infected with some type of the virus at sometime in their lives," he added.

He warned that the risk of infection starts from the first sexual encounter and would continue through life.

Dr Hiadzi indicated that every year, across Africa, 79,000 women were diagnosed with the disease with about 62,000 women dying.

Most health care providers lack the needed skills to educate, provide screening services, identify and manage cases appropriately.

He announced that vaccines against the HPV infection was now available in the country and therefore prevention was currently possible.

Dr Hiadzi urged women to vaccinate alongside screening to reduce the risk of the disease.

He advised sexually active female students to go for checkups to know their Cervical Cancer status while admonishing the inactive ones to abstained from sex.

Touching on Prostate Cancer, the medical director said this was the leading cause of death in men especially in developing countries like Ghana.

Prostate Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in a man's prostate gland. The prostate is found just below the bladder.

He said as the life expectancy in developing countries increased the incidence of prostate cancer also sours up.

Dr Hiadzi noted that African and black Americans men were more likely to be diagnosed at an advanced stage of their lives.

He said screening for the cancer was to detect the disease at the early stages, adding that "age is a risk factor, the older you are the higher the risk of the ailment".

Minimising the chance of getting Prostate Cancer, Dr Hiadzi said people could eat more low fat and high fibre foods, stressing that vegetables like kontomire, broccoli, cauli-flower, carrots and cabbage with food supplements such as vitamins D and E may also help prevent the disease.

He advised men to talk to their doctors about the disease for early screening and prevention.

Symptoms of Prostate Cancer include weak or interrupted flow of urine, frequent urination especially at night, Blood in the urine, difficulty urinating and erectile dysfunction.

GNA

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