WITH the growing threat of cervical cancer to women in the country, a concerned young mother Marisa Pepa is urging women to go for regular cervical cancer tests.
Statistics on cervical cancer released by the National Referral Hospital show that the disease is growing at an alarming rate.
“I want to make a call here to all women and girls. Please don’t be shy or wait until it’s too late to go for cervical cancer tests,” Ms Pepa said.
She said after reading the article about the alarming national cervical cancer statistics in the Solomon Star she felt obliged to encourage all women and girls to go for regular cervical cancer tests so that the disease can be treated at the early stage should they be tested positive.
Maris Pepa is a Chief Parliament Civic Education Officer.
In an interview with Solomon Star yesterday Marisa said that in the present era, relationships or sexual relationships are very challenging.
“The world is changing, life styles are changing and partner preferences change in ways we’ve never experienced before.
“My advice to young people today is to build relationships based on trust, love and honesty and not a relationship that is driven by lust, alcohol and drugs.
”If you’re sexually active get tested regularly to be safe,” she said.
Mr Pepa said if a woman or a girl knows her partner is not faithful she must get tested and get your partner to be tested as well.
“Sexual health should be considered as any other health problem and should not be associated with negative stereotypes which is the very reason why women shy away and only come forward when the cancer is serious,” she said.
Cervical cancer is infection with HPV virus, a very common virus that is transmitted sexually.
Most HPV virus resolves spontaneously. However those that persist that may lead to pre-cancer or cervical cancer.
There are risk factors that increase the chances of developing cervical cancer. These include smoking, having sex at early age and having a partner with multiple partners.
Meanwhile, the NRH can only achieve cure during stage one of cervical cancer and this can be done by a simple or radical hysterectomy or the complete removal of the uterus or baby bag.
Treatment for stage 2-4 of cervical cancer is not available in the country as these stages require more expensive and complex treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy. If the patient is lucky, she can travel overseas to access this treatment but if not then at the NRH she can only be given certain medications (pain killer and blood transfusions) just to relief her of her suffering.
* Cervical cancer must not be seen as a woman’s issue alone.
* We need support and commitment from the government level and all stake holders by way of programmes, policies, and monetary support if we are to win the fight against cervical cancer.
* Women are the back bone of the home and family and contribute a lot to the development of our country.
* When a woman has advance cervical cancer, the whole house hold is affected including the children and fathers.
* The whole family is in agony when the sad news is broken to them that nothing can be done. We have seen husbands in pain and tears.
* Young children are left motherless.
* The importance of early screening cannot be over emphasized.
* If you have any abnormal symptoms go to the nearest health centre or better still, get your cervix checked even though you feel absolutely well.
By LESLEY SANGA