Day 1 (One): What exactly is Cervical Cancer?
Cervical Cancer is the 3rd most common cancer in women worldwide, but the 2nd most common cancer in Nigeria. It is a malignancy which develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the uterus from the vagina). It occurs when healthy cells acquire a genetic change (mutation) that triggers the process of metaplasia i.e causing normal cells to turn into abnormal cells. The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor) which invade nearby tissues, thereby metastasizing in other parts of the body such as the vagina, rectum, liver, lungs and bladder.
The occurence of Cervical Cancer is linked to infection with high-risk Human Papillomaviruses (HPV), which is mostly transmitted through sexual activity. Cervical Cancer usually develops from the squamous cells or endocervical epithelium, but squamous cells carcinoma accounts for 85-90% of cervical malignancies. It may be diagnosed in any woman of reproductive age, however, most cases occur in women over age 30.
Cervical Cancer remains the leading cause of cancer–related deaths for women, especially in developing countries. There were 31,955 new cervical cancer cases in West Africa and Nigeria accounted for 14,943, almost half of these cases. In Nigeria, 53.3 million women are at risk of developing Cervical Cancer of which are 15 years of age and above.
From: NUNSA Standing Committee of Media, Information & Communication.
Comr. Khadija Motunrayo Musa
NUNSA National President.
Comr. Attahiru Adamu
Comr. Salako Omolabake