New campaign in Egypt sheds light on the silent killer of women

Ingy Deif, Sunday 26 Jan 2014

The Breast Cancer Foundation in Egypt launches a campaign shedding light on cervical cancer, little talked about and dubbed the silent killer of women

Source: BCFE
Source: BCFE

January marked Cervical Cancer Month worldwide — a month of raising awarness on a type of tumor that ranks number two in causing fatalities among women.

The Breast Cancer Foundation in Egypt (BCFE) seized this opportunity to launch a campaign encouraging women to know more about the dangers of cervical cancer, the risk factors attributed with it, and what they can do to dodge the bullet. Early detection through regular smear tests allows a very high probability of total recovery, while some vaccines can even protect the female from a very early age.

Dr Mohamed Shaalan, professor of surgical oncology and head of the Prevention and Early Detection Unit at the National Cancer Institute, says that although the main factor known to be the primary cause of cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted virus called HPV, there are four risk factors that should be considered by every woman. These are:

  1. Long term smoking
  2. Giving birth to three or more children
  3. Having immune system health problems that leaves the body incapable of fighting infections, including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
  4. Having used the contraceptive pill for five years or more

Although cervical cancer is a serious condition, women can follow five measures to help prevent its occurrence, says Dr Shaalan. He lists them as follows:

  1. Steer clear of smoking
  2. Spread the word on the importance of regular smear tests for early detection, which should take place every three years starting from the age 21
  3. Girls from the age of 11 should take the HPV vaccine, which is available in local pharmacies and requires three doses
  4. Women should consult with a physician in case of the occurrence of any abnormal discharge or bleeding
  5. Safe sex is a vital measure of prevention

According to the World Health Organisation, cervical cancer is the second cause of cancer-related fatalities in women worldwide, and the second most common cancer type. A whooping 80 percent of cases are in developing countries, partially due to a lack of awareness of detention and prevention practices. Most cases appear in the forties and fifties.

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