On 12th September 2018, International Agency for Research on Cancer through a press release cited cancer burden to have risen to 18.1million new cases and 9.6million cancer related deaths. As part of the IARC Global Cancer Observatory, the GLOBOCAN 2018 database estimated the incidence and mortality in 185 countries for 36 types of cancer. They concluded that one in 5 men and one in 6 women worldwide was at risk of developing cancer during their lifetime, and one in 8 men and one in 11 women was at risk of dying from the disease. While most people may not relate cancer to young kids, the reality is that globally more than 416500 children are diagnosed and 142,300 are estimated to die from the disease each year.
Definition of Cervical Cancer
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts, even if it spreads to other body parts later. When cancer starts in the cervix, it is called cervical cancer. Research from World Health Organization grades cervical cancer to be the fourth most frequent cancer in women with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018 representing 6.6% of all female cancers.
Their database approximates 90% of deaths from cervical cancer to have occurred in low and middle income countries. Currently, there are vaccines that protect against Human Papilloma Virus(HPV).
Symptoms of Cervical Cancer
From the Cancer.net, most women do not have any signs or symptoms of a pre cancer and in women with advanced and metastatic cancers, the symptoms may be more severe depending on the tissues and organs to which the disease has spread. Some signs and symptoms might include: Blood spots or light bleeding between or following periods, menstrual bleeding that is longer and heavier than usual among others.
Economic Implication of Cervical Cancer
Statistics from the ministry of health show that cancer of the cervix claims about eight women in Kenya every day. The lack of access to the screening centres and the cost of undertaking the screening tests remain to be a challenge towards early screening and treatment to date. Screening costs at least Kshs 3000.The National Cancer Control Programme says that the charges for treating cervical cancer without surgery ranges at Kshs 172000 to Kshs759000.While treating Cervical cancer with surgery, ranges between Kshs 672999 to Kshs 1.2million.
In the year 2008, the total economic impact of premature death and disability from cancer worldwide was $895 billion. This figure represents 1.5 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP).
The Critical New Joint Report, authored by Dr.Rijo and Dr.Hana of The American Cancer Society, views cancer as the worlds’ leading cause of death followed by heart disease and stroke. The report also shows that cancer currently has the greatest economic impact from premature death and disability of all causes of death worldwide.
HPV Vaccination in Kenya
HPV infection causes skin or mucus membrane growth (warts)which are usually harmless and goes away by itself as your immune system fights it. But some HPV types which mainly spread through sexual contact can lead to cancer.
In order to eliminate cervical cancer, World health Organization proposed vaccination of 90% of girls under the age of 15 by the age of 2030.Despite the quagmire between science and religion, the HPV vaccine is set to be launched in the country this month. Let us all join hands in this fight against cancer.