UNDERSTANDING CERVICAL CANCER

UNDERSTANDING CERVICAL CANCER
What comes into your mind when you hear one talk of cervical cancer? Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grows out of control. There are various types of cancer named after the body part from which it starts. Cervical cancer starts from the cervix hence the name. The cervix is the lower narrow end of the uterus which connects the vagina to the upper part of the uterus. It is the opening to the womb. Cervical cancer is caused by the Human Papilloma virus (HPV) which is passed from the males to the females during sexual intercourse making sexually active women to be at a higher risk of getting cervical cancer. In addition to HPV, there are other contributing factors that increases the risk of cervical cancer that is, excessive smoking of cigarettes, having HIV,using birth control pills over a long period of time.

At the initial stages, cervical cancer do not show any noticeable signs and symptoms making it difficult to detect. This call for the need of regular and timely screening done through a simple test to detect any changes in the cervix that can turn to be cancer. There are two types of tests that can be done to detect the change in the cervix that is: visual inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) also known as rapid vinegar test and the Pap smear test. VIA entails careful insertion of a speculum through the vagina, spraying the cervix with acetic acid and checking whether the cervix has a white spot which may be a sign of cervical cancer. In case the white spot is detected it is removed through freezing in a process called cryotherapy which is quick, painless and highly effective.

It takes many years for cancer to develop therefore it may not be helpful to screen women under the age of 25 while women above the age of 49 have lower chances of infection. HIV positive women should go for screening once every year while VIA negative women should go for screening after every five years. Women having cancer at advanced stages are referred to other health facilities for further management by the health practitioners. Cervical cancer is real, it makes children orphans, men widowers, parents lonely and the community to lag behind. The fight against cervical cancer starts now irregadless of sex or age, Make an effort of visiting KMET Corkran clinic for cervical cancer and treatment before it is too late because there is no remedy to time wasted. We must win this fight.

SEE & TREAT

BEAT CERVICAL CANCER

18th May 2018 Friday, marked the end of Free Cervical Cancer Screening & Treatment training and project at JOOTRH. The hospitals represented by the nurses trained were KMET Corkran Clinic, Masaba Hospital, Ahero Medical Centre, Kisumu County Hospital (KCH), JOOTRH, Migosi Hospital and Masogo Sub-County Hospital. After the 5days of training and implementing the knowledge acquired for cervical cancer screening and treatment, the nurses called it quits at 1pm and headed for a short test. Certificates were handed to them by Rebecca Lopsik; Program Director of curecervicalcancer.org, CEO of JOOTRH; Ogutu and Executive Director of KMET; Monica Oguttu. After all, it’s a training worth celebration and appreciation. Speaking of celebration, it can’t go unmentioned that the feat CBK band delighted the clients as they waited to be served. They made them laugh, smile and definitely eased their tension.

Vote of thanks was given by KMET’s very own Monica Oguttu, curecervicalcancer.org’s Rebecca Lopsik, JOOTRH’s CEO Ogutu and Monica on behalf of County Health director’s office. Monica urged the health facilitators to implement what they’ve been trained to do regarding cervical cancer screening (VIA method—Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid) and treatment by means of cryotherapy. She further impelled them to apply knowledge gained within the 5days, consult and seek advice. She encouraged them to use Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) and take advantage of any chance such as weddings and funerals to urge women to come for cervical cancer screening.

Apart from the vote of thanks, it had surely been an eventful and educative week characterized by entertainment such as the Road show which was a good mobilization method for people inquired more about this See & Treat project “Free Cervical Cancer Screening & Treatment.” Also, in the bright sunshine, Lolwe TV crew paid JOOTRH a visit in order to inquire more about this initiative; Free Cervical Cancer Screening & Treatment by KMET in partnership with curecervicalcancer.org

By the way, women aged 50 and above were referred to Marie Stopes and Family Health Options Kenya for Pap smear since the screening here was VIA which doesn’t give clear results for such ages because a part in the cervix(squamocolumnar junction cervix–SJC) has become less visual with age. Ages below 25 were not really at risk besides the cervix would be loose hence not able to hold pregnancy if they go for screening every now and then from that tender age.

Some men thought that since HPV is gotten via sexual intercourse and they are the carrier, they need to be tested yet some were green about what cervical cancer is and which part of the body it affects. Such thought it’s a disease that affects the throat but at the end of the day, they were properly sensitized. Some clients posted for photo shots and many expressed how grateful they are for taking the chance to be screened and hoped more initiatives like this would be done often.

Finally, the number of women screened is 407 of which 10 were found “suspicious” and referred immediately and 8 tested “positive” so cryotherapy was done. The training is a wrap and the health facilitators instigate for provision of CO2 gas for cryotherapy at their health facilities. They were reminded that documentation is essential because every month, data will be collected by Community Health Nurse from KMET(Faith). Masaba Hospital, Ahero Medical Center and KMET Corkran Clinic will soon be equipped with cryotherapy essentialities.

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THE HEAVENS SMILING ON WOMEN

A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE

The free cervical cancer screening and treatment sponsored by KMET in partnership with

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curecervicalcancer.org officially began on 15th May (Tuesday) at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching & Referral Hospital (JOOTRH/RUSSIA Hospital). It was characterized by a delightful musical performance as the clients waited to be served. Their tension was eased by this feat humorous and relational CBK band known in Kisumu County.
Before I dive deeper into the event and mobilization of cervical cancer screening, let me clarify the information. The cervix is the lower, narrow end of the uterus. It connects the vagina (the birth canal) to the upper part of the uterus. Women are the only ones who have cervixes so cervical cancer only affects women but men carry HPV which they infect women with during intercourse.
Well, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the main cause of cervical cancer. Most sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives but few women will get cervical cancer.
Apart from HPV, there are other things and habits that increase the risk of getting cervical cancer. These are smoking, prolonged usage of birth control pills, having given birth to more than three children and having HIV.

It’s no secret that cervical cancer is the number 1 killer disease for women worldwide. Cervical cancer may not cause signs and symptoms but Advanced cervical cancer (as in; last stages 3 & 4) may cause bleeding or discharge from the vagina that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex.
Cervical cancer is the easiest gynecologic cancer to prevent with regular screening tests and follow-up. It also is highly curable when found and treated early.

Cervical cancer screening saves nine for it detects the early signs of cervical cancer that can be treated there and then. The equipment used assist in detecting the liaisons that appear cancerous and a cryotherapy is done to eliminate the developing cancerous liaisons. It detects if the client is positive or negative or suspicious. If she tests suspicious for cancer, she’s referred to a hospital for further evaluation or cancer treatment more so; chemotherapy. If she tests positive (meaning pre-cancerous cells are identified), cryotherapy (freezing off pre-cancerous cells from the cervix) is done immediately which is painless and quick. Cryotherapy greatly reduces the risk of developing cervical cancer.

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Cervical cancer screening should be done after 3years but for HIV+ women, the screening is done after every 1year because their immune system is weak. curecervicalcancer.org prefer ages 25-49. They argue that ages 24 and below might feel so much discomfort when they are being screened plus their results will raise false alarm or simply be false results.

THE VOICE

A good number of women suffer terrible sexual violence that goes unreported. These women have no access to therapy or other methods of healing. Repeated abuse on these women ultimately eats away their self-esteem driving them into drug abuse, prostitution, sexually transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancies and at sometimes death. Below is a poem on a teenage woman who suffered sexual violence but later reported to the relevant authority and got help.

THE VOICE
It is now six years but your words still fresh in my mind
I love you from the waist downwards
I do not deal in damaged goods
I still remember that afternoon when I first set my eyes on you
Your words as a sharp knife slowly scraping deep across my skin
You kissed my lips and said you love me
It is now clear to me that I misunderstood you
I never knew love meant bruised knuckles, yelling and fighting at night
It all started as an innocent look, then an innocent touch
Mmmh an innocent kiss, some drama and finally an innocent heartbreak
I want to forget this but a voice keeps on reminding me.

Dear God does my life not matter to you?
Have you suddenly forgotten me?
Why do you leave me to wonder and wallow in despair?
I meditated barefooted in the middle of a dark thorny bush
You never valued my freedom
And I was foolish enough to let you destroy my queendom
I stood as a withered flower among scenic flowers
Because the wind bawled at me pulling my leaves and petals
But my charming abuser how dare you invade my queendom
The oblivion you caused me put my life into a pause
I want to forget this but a voice keeps on reminding me

At one point, I was strong
Strong with concrete humanized walls
A centerpiece to tourists of awe who could only see me
However, were never allowed to come close to me
Hey atrocious man, why did you pick me out of the many?
However, of cause who am I to question you
My juvenile mind never knew saying no was unimpeachable
I as a dumbas thick head accepted your tugs
Dear cold-blooded lover
Your whispers billowed out of your mouth like a snake
Each one striking at me leaving on me marks of blood
Yes, I never fought you back but now I advance into stardom
What you did to me deserve no title
I want to forget but a voice keeps on reminding me