A medical practitioner, has warned that multiple sexual partners among women increases risk of developing cervical cancer.
The expert, Dr Uchenna Iroka, who is from the Department of Accident and Emergency Unit, Minna General Hospital, described cervical cancer as a cancer of the uterus (womb) that grows around the narrowing part of the lower uterus often referred to as the neck of the womb.
He listed vaginal bleeding during sexual intercourse, foul smelling discharge, pains during sex and post menopausal bleeding as the symptoms of cervical cancer. The others were smoking, which he noted, weakens the immune system, long-term mental stress, giving birth at early age, several pregnancies and contraceptive pill which also increases the risk of cervical cancer.
He disclosed that women within the age of 50 years and above were at risk of developing cervical cancer. He said that women who engaged in sexual intercourse with different men were also at risk of contacting Human Papillioma Virus, especially type 16 and 18 associated with cervical cancer. He advised people to stick to one partner, noting that multiple partners exposed them to contacting deadly diseases. According to him, young ladies should go for pap-smear test from time to time to know if they are sexually active or not.
“If the pap-smear test is negative, the person should be vaccinated and if the test is positive, it is an indication that the person is likely to develop cancer in 20 to 30 years time. “At that point, the person can commence treatment to prevent it from developing. Most cervical cancer is squamous in 90 per cent and adenocarcinoma in about 5 per cent.
“Treating cancer depends on the stage it is discovered. Most people in developing countries unlike in the developed countries are ignorant, that is why the disease is discovered late,” he said. He said treatment modalities for cancer, include surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy while the three modalities could be combined.
The medical practitioner advised young ladies to get vaccinated whether they were sexually active or not. Iroka also advised Nigerians, especially women, to go for regular cancer screening, stressing that regular screening helps to detect the disease at early stage and reduces number of death. He called on religious and traditional leaders to encourage women in their domain to go for regular breast and cervical screening, adding that such facilities were available in government hospitals.