Kisumu City is the third largest city in Kenya with a population of 968,909 with 50.1% being women population. Even though there have been concerted efforts by both the private sector and the government to raise awareness on the benefits of early cervical cancer screening, studies show that a paltry one third of the women have ever heard of cervical cancer.
Early cervical cancer screening averts cases of full blown and complex cancer by identifying the disease at its early stages. When identified early, cervical cancer can be treated in a simple procedure known as cryotherapy.
Cryotherapy is medical procedure that destroys abnormal tissue on the cervix by freezing it. It destroys some normal tissue along with the abnormal tissue. During cryotherapy, liquid carbon dioxide (CO2), which is very cold, circulates through a probe placed next to the abnormal tissue. This freezes the tissue for 2 to 3 minutes.
Should one be diagnosed with cancer at advanced stages, more complex treatment procedures will be required which is not only expensive but also slow.
For example in Kisumu, cancer patients seeking treatment at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital have to wait for one week for admission to undergo chemotherapy as the hospital lacks enough staff to carry out the treatment even though there is enough equipment. It is reported that one clinician serves about 30 patients. Most of them are treatment of cervical cancer.
A clinician should handle at least five patients, but due to many women not going for regular screening many of them turn up for cervical cancer treatment when it is full blown hence many patients to be attended to.
It is proven that early and regular cervical cancer screening reduces incidences of maternal mortality. Studies show that the late stage at which women get diagnosed reduces their chances of survival.
Diagnosis of cervical cancer requires visual inspection of the cervix, this is a screening tool for low resource setting and it’s economical and it provides immediate results and do not require any Laboratory support. This can be performed with acetic acid (VIA) or Lugol’s iodine (VILI). The procedures are also known as Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) or Visual Inspection with Lugol’s Iodine (VILI).
Another method is a Pap test which is performed by opening the vaginal canal with a speculum, then collect cells from the surface of the cervix and vagina ,a sample of cervical tissue (called a biopsy) is then taken and analyzed under a microscope to find out if they are abnormal. It’s also called a Pap smear.
It’s advisable to have screening in the middle of your menstrual cycle, halfway between one period and the next; this enables the cytologist to examine the best possible specimen to achieve the best possible report, when going for screening do not have sexual intercourse 24 hours before your screening, do not use a tampon for at least two days, wear a skirt, be relaxed to avoid discomfort.
Call: (0800724500) from 8am-8pm free of charge should you want a VIA and VILI or for more information.
Tom Mboya Estate, off Kondele-Airport Ring road
P.O Box 6805-40103. Kisumu
You can also visit our clinic: Kmet Health Complex Headquarters for quality but affordable preventive and curative services.
Done by Beryl Onyango and Ashiembi