POST TIME: 13 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
cervical cancer
‘Public awareness, early diagnosis can lead to prevention’

‘Public awareness, early diagnosis can lead to prevention’

In order to prevent cervical cancer, it is necessary to create awareness among the people, experts and doctors said yesterday (Saturday). Also, no woman should die of cervical cancer as it can be treated and cured if diagnosed early, they added. The experts and doctors came up with the observations while speaking at a roundtable on the occasion of Cervical Cancer Awareness Day at the VIP lounge of the National Press Club in the capital yesterday (Saturday).  

The programme was jointly organised by ‘March for Mother’ and Rotary International District 3281. They observed that by using the community centres and schools across the country, the people at the grassroots can be alerted about the disease. The country has just 200 to 250 oncologists, a figure that needs to be increased, they added.

At present, 11,956 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the country every year. At least 6,582 die of the disease. Again, 8,068 women are newly affected by the disease in the country every year. This is 12 per cent of new female cancer patients, according to a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

In the programme, Habibullah Talukder Raskin, an associate professor of the National Cancer Research Institute and Hospital and chief coordinator of ‘March for Mother’, said the majority of cervical cancer cases occur in middle age rather than old age. It is one of the most common cancers in women under 35, he observed.

“Preventive cervical screening programmes can prevent cervical cancer deaths and provide a means of early detection. When the disease is detected early, it is highly treatable, and is often associated with long survival and good quality of life outcomes,” he added.

Sabera Khatun, chairperson of the gynae-oncology department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), said, “In order to prevent the incidence of cervical cancer among women, we should introduce population-based screening programmes across the country.”

“One of the main causes of the disease in Bangladesh is child marriage,” she said, urging the government to introduce a strict law against early marriages. She observed that mostly marginalised women suffer from cervical cancer.

The national strategy mandated the vaccination of cervical cancer vaccine for adolescent girls not above 15 years. Such vaccination before the first sexual intercourse protects girls from its incidence throughout life.

The strategy requires screening middle-age women and others alongside palliative care for the elderly women who cannot be cured.

Tahmina Gaffar, chairperson of the Aparajita Society against Cancer, who has survived the cancer for 15 years, said families and society should extend support to increase the “mental strength” of cancer-affected persons.

Prof. Swapon Bandopadhyay of the department of radiation oncology of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, noted that radio therapy facilities in the country are not adequate. “These should be increased,” he added. Apart from the government, the private sector should help by providing necessaries, he added.

Prof. Syed Abdul Hamid of the Institute of Health Economies of Dhaka University (DU), said the price of the vaccination against the disease was high in the country, which requires government aid.

“The country has only 200 to 250 oncologists. This must be increased to at least 1,000, as the number of cancer patient has been rising day by day,” he said, adding that the government needs to produce cancer experts.

Rotarian AFM Alamgir, governor of Rotary International District 32281, Prof. Sheikh Golam Mostafa, former director of the NICRH, and singer Samina Chowdhury also spoke .