The government has been urged to add cervical cancer to the list of treatments covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to encourage women to seek early treatment.
The Vice President of the Cancer Support Network Foundation (CSNF), Mr Eric Brobbey, who advocated this said it would also ensure that the country’s cervical cancer mortality rate was significantly reduced.
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Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix.
The symptoms include vaginal bleeding after intercourse, watery or bloody vaginal discharge that may be heavy and have a foul odour, pelvic pain or pain during intercourse.
Mr Brobbey, who is also an oncology nurse made the call during an interview with the Ghanaian Times and said the government needed to provide additional support towards cervical cancer campaign in the country.
He disclosed that about 2,797 women in Ghana were diagnosed of cervical cancer last year, however, about 1,699 women died from the disease within the same period, pointing out that the disease was preventable, and there was the need for women to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from contracting it.
Mr Brobbey said that the virus responsible for the spread of the disease, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, infects men too.
“They can pick the virus from an infected woman and pass it on to another woman, also if a man had suffered from penal cancer in the past, they can still transmit the virus to other women because they are both caused by HPV,” he explained.
He noted that women were prone to contracting the disease due to their weak immune system which was often caused by their constant hormonal activity.
Mr Brobbey stressed the need for women to adopt regular medical screening to ensure the early detection of the disease since it was preventable, adding that “lifestyle modification in the sense that we should not have multiple sexual partners, encourage sex education, eat balance meals, limit our intake of alcohol, artificial spices and obesity”.
Mr Brobbey added that women between the ages of nine and 24 years were required to take the vaccine which would give them lifelong protection against the virus however persons beyond age 20 needed to undergo the Pap Smear test to know their status.