Cervical cancer continues to be the commonest cancer in The Gambia and is one of the common cancers in the developing countries, but it is a cancer that could be preventable, says Dr. Musa Marenah during an interview with this reporter.
Dr. Marenah stated that due to the influx of cancer patients the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, has assigned Friday to see only cancer patients from early thirty years to sixty years, noting that it is a huge burden on hospital’s resources. Dr. Marenah noted that cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix.
Dr. Marenah noted that in developing countries because of lack of resources many seek medical attention late.
He noted that with the advent of the cancer screening machine that would help them to reduce the number of patients that seek treatment lately.
“Awareness is very important in cancer prevention,” he stressed. He stated that the first stage of prevention is for people to be faithful and seek medical attention on time before it gets late.
He revealed that they have at least five new cases every clinic day in a week, the majority of who come very late, when the illness is quite advanced. “If you are vaccinated earlier it would prevent you from cancer contraction, you may also delay sexual intercourse before marriage and if sexually active you should stick to one sexual partner or stay faithful,” he explained. He noted that in October they trained 60 health workers including 9 doctors under the cancer prevention strategy.
Dr. Marenah said women who are sexually active should have a cancer screen once in every five years in their life time and stay faithful to their partner.
He urges the delay of sex until marriage or sticking to one sexual partner to prevent cervical cancer. He noted that the ministry of health and social welfare were targeting children 9 to 12 years in the west coast region, which, he said, is another way to prevent cancer.
He noted that it is a very serious cancer but it can be prevented before it gets late. He stated that they have had training with doctors; “the cancer walk we had previously is part of the awareness creation for people to know about the disease and the health education and promotion is also involved in creating awareness,” he remarked.
World Health Organisation (WHO) gives the following data on cancer mortality profile for males in The Gambia; liver is 61.4%, Prostrate 5.9%; Stomach 3.3%; trachea, bronchus, lung 4.4%; Lymphomas, Multiple myeloma 3.7% others 21.3%.
And for female: liver 31.3%; Cervix Uteri 29.1%; Breast 9.1%; Pancreas 2.6%; Lymphomas, multiple myeloma 3.4% ; other 24.6