I went to TASO Masaka to inquire about cervical cancer and Deborah the nurse responsible for cancer screening said it’s the fourth most common deadly disease within the region followed by breast cancer.
She said, it affects young women aged between 30 – 49 years adding that cervical cancer in most women is asymptomatic in early stages and it’s most caused by high risk human papilloma virus (HPV) that causes pre-cancerous changes on the cervix.
Both breast and cervical cancer can be prevented by immunization of young girls aged between 9-12. Another prevention is screening i.e routine screening of women between age groups 30-49 years and treatment of all positive cases.
Deborah informed me that, all health center 3 ,antenatal clinics and ART clinics within Masaka provide screening and treatment.
About breast cancer, it affects both men and women but mostly women. Risk factors include giving birth at older age above 30 years, hormonal therapy, drinking alcohol, smoking, drug abuse, menstruating before 12 years among others.
I asked if she receives KUCHUS at her facility for cancer screening and she says she does but not in big numbers because of the myths around it like enlargement of the vagina, stigma and long waiting hours.
This story is compiled by our correspondent Phiona based in Masaka.