A roadmap for cervical cancer prevention and appropriate treatment in Guyana needs to be developed. This was the assertion made by Professor CN Purandare on Thursday evening while delivering a lecture on cervical cancer at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
According to the Professor, a comprehensive approach to cervical cancer needs to be done given the rising number of cases in Guyana over the years.
Cervical cancer is a cancer arising from the cervix and it is due to the abnormal growth of cells. It ranks as the main type of cancer in Guyanese women. According to statistics from the ICO information center on HPV and cancer, the annual number of cases is 161 while the mortality rate is 71.
Worldwide, the professor said, despite being able to curb the maternal mortality rate to some degree, the rapid increase of cervical cancer continues to be a problem. “We have seen a 35 per cent reduction in the maternal mortality rate while there is a 45 per cent increase in cervical cancer.
He also cited lack of awareness and persons not doing routine screening as two reasons for the high incidence of cervical cancer in Guyana. “People do not do routine tests and that’s the problem. Routine testing is nonexistent,” he said.
He stressed too that despite the impact of screening, women continue to be at risk.
He added that low income groups continue to be the most vulnerable mostly due to the ill equipped facilities.
Citing statistics, Purandare said that yearly 527,000 women are diagnosed while every two minutes a woman dies from cervical cancer. He added that by the year 2050, it is predicted that there will be one million new cases.
Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Dr George Norton said, “While one may hear the bad things about cancer, the ministry is trying to get organised. A technical working group needs to be created to develop a national plan.”
Purandare is an expert in obstetrics and gynaecology and President of the International Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.