What is cervical cancer?
Cancer of the entrance to a woman’s womb (uterus). The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb).
- Cervical cancer is the 5th most common cancer in women worldwide with approximately 471,000 new cases diagnosed each year. A woman dies of cervical cancer approximately every 2 minutes.
- Cervical cancer is more common in women over 40, but sometimes develops quickly and is sometimes diagnosed in younger women.
- Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer worldwide. It is more common in less developed countries. 80% of the cases occur in low-income or middle-income countries. Zimbabwe Cancer Registry statistics (2010) showing that this type of cancer is the most common in the black female population of Zimbabwe. Cervical cancer is the most common cancer for women in Central America and Southern Africa.
What increases the risk of cervical cancer?
The risk of cervical cancer is increased by, for example:
- The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Almost everyone who is sexually active is infected with HPV at some point, however in some women it can cause abnormal cell changes which can develop into cervical cancer. Women from the age of 12 – can now receive a vaccine to guard against the virus.
- Smoking, particularly if a woman has had a persistent infection with a high-risk HPV type.
- Neglecting to attend regular Pap smear examinations and pelvic examinations which are in intended to identify abnormal cell changes earlier, so whilst the test is slightly uncomfortable, it may save your life. It has been estimated that only about 5% of women in developing countries have been screened for cervical dysplasia in the past 5 years, compared with 40% to 50% of women in developed countries.
What is ECCT doing about it?
- In September, ECCT in partnership with the Art of Being Humane Foundation, will be using photography as a creative skill to document women’s stories in relation to cervical cancer. This research is also being collected for a SADC (Southern African Development Community) project, which aims to get a sense of women’s knowledge and experiences with cervical cancer services in the SADC.
- ECCT and the ABH are promoting awareness amongst Zimbabwean women and have been working with a small group of women in Harare , who will be sharing their stories and holding a photo shoot on Sat 24 September 2011 from 10 am – 12noon at Masibanda Lodge, 41 Atkinson Drive in Hillside.
- They will then host a small event for cervical cancer at the same venue later in the month (date to be announced) as a means to raise awareness and exhibit the images and stories of the women who participate
- See more of Rudo Nyangulu’s work
- Anyone who wants to help in some way can contact ABH via email at email@example.com or ring Donna on 073535588.
By raising awareness, we can save lives!
- “Cervical Cancer in the Developing World” (1997) athttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071564/
- Central African Journal of Medicine, “Evaluation of cervical cancer screening programme in the Harare City Health Department, Zimbabwe” (1997)
- Zimbabwe Cancer Registry Annual Report 2006 (revised 2010)