‘Pakistan 7th among 50 countries in cervical cancer deaths’
The Cervical Cancer Global Crisis Card (CCGCC) has ranked Pakistan 7th out of 50 countries with highest number of cervical cancer deaths.
This was revealed at a press briefing arranged by the United Against Cervical Cancer (UACC) in the backdrop of world cancer awareness campaign on Tuesday.
Dr. Noreen Zafar, Consultant Gynaecologist, at Doctors Hospital said Cervical Cancer was the second most common cancer in women worldwide and the third leading cause of cancer deaths in women. It kills estimated 275,000 women every year and 500,000 new cases are reported worldwide.
She added ‘cervical cancer' was the only cancer which was almost entirely preventable.
We know what causes it, Human Papiloma Virus (HPV) and there is even a vaccination to prevent it. It is very unfortunate that everyday 20 women die of cervical cancer which can be prevented through a vaccine’.
Sr. Asif Kaleem Sheikh, President Pakistan Paediatric Association Punjab, said every woman was at a risk. The best time to get vaccinated is before marriage, however all females from nine years onwards can benefit from vaccine against Cervical Cancer. Getting the vaccine as early as possible will protect them in future.
He said Pakistan had an increasing trend of cervical cancer cases which were normally diagnosed at advanced stages when a woman was in the prime of her life taking care of her children and family. It is very important to educate masses and persuade them to get their daughters vaccinated, he added.
Dr. Haroon Hamid, General Secretary PPA Punjab, said according to a study carried out by the WHO, numerous tools and technologies existed to prevent cervical cancer. These interventions remain largely inaccessible to girls and women who need them the most.
‘In Pakistani culture we spend millions of rupees on weddings and futile rituals like dowry, however when it comes to health of daughters and wives, we are ignorant and consider such topics a taboo. We believe that the best gift to our daughters on their wedding will be vaccination against this killer disease as more than 60% of those who get cervical cancer die from it,’ he added.
Health expert said unawareness regarding the disease was the dilemma of our society. Despite our social barriers, government, policymakers and medical fraternity must come together to create awareness in the public. It will encourage our women for screening and vaccination against this deadly, but preventable disease.
‘WHO study shows that in Pakistan, the cervical cancer is less than nine per 100,000 back in 2002 which has moved to 13.6 per 100,000 in 2008.
It showed that the country was moving from low risk level to moderate risk level making it a danger zone where young girls were more at risk than before.
We are standing in 2016 and any concerned person can sense the gravity of conditions. Lack of latest data and research are adding to the misery,’ they added.
The UACC is established with an aim to fight this disease and protect our women who have the responsibility of upbringing our generations. We must not forget that vaccination along with screening can reduce the incidence of cervical cancer by 94% and the screening should be continued even after vaccination, panelists concluded.