A medical doctor, Yemisi Balogun, on Sunday said that a survey of six African countries had showed that half a million new cervical cancer patients were being detected yearly.
Mrs Balogun disclosed this at a session on “Medical Teaching: Cervical Cancer Screening’’, organised by Bishop Ajayi Crowther Memorial Anglican Church, Gowon Estate in Egbeda, Lagos State.
According to her, the countries are: Nigeria, Malawi, Uganda, Madagascar, Tanzania and Zambia.
She said cervical cancer was the second most common cancer among women, adding that 250 women died yearly of the disease in the six countries.
“It (cervical cancer) is the major cause of death among women in Africa.
“Unfortunately, when there is cancer in the body, a lot of people have no symptoms. It takes 10 years for cervical cancer to develop in the human body.
“God loves us so much and enables us to detect it at an early stage,’’ she told the News Agency of Nigeria.
According to her, it is advisable to do the screening because by the time the symptom appears, the cancer might have spread beyond control.
Balogun said that she would not encourage women under 21 years of age to do the screening unless, “they are sexually active’’.
The medical practitioner said that cervical cancer screening does not apply to those who had removed their womb.
She said that it was better to do the screening and detect the cancer early in order to start treatments.
Balogun, however, said that a lot of cancer ailments had no total cure.
“Before the cancer starts, 99 per cent of those affected have no symptom but when the cancer starts, there may be bleeding and there may be some abnormal discharge.
“When the cancer starts, it spreads to the neighbouring organs of the body and is like a death sentence,’’ she said.
Another medical expert, Ify Iwuchukwu, said cervical cancer was usually caused by Papilloma virus from men, “when a woman is sexually active with a man that has such a virus’’.
Iwuchukwu, however, said that the virus “is not in all men and does not affect men.”
She advised women, who were sexually active, to come forward for cancer screening.