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  • Prof Rotimi Jaiyesimi


January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, which provides a chance to raise awareness about cervical cancer, which kills over 80,000 Nigerian women every year, Cervical cancer is caused by sexual transmission of the virus that causes the disease, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

These women need not have died because the cancer does not just start or arrive suddenly but there is a long period of time, when present at the neck of the womb, are abnormalities which can be detected if the right equipment (cervical smear, colposcopy) are available. Regrettably, these are not available to the masses of Nigerian women. In its place are the visual analysis for changes using acetic acid

What is also regrettable is that most cases of this cancer is preventable if young girls and now boys are given vaccination against the virus that causes cervical cancer, the HPV vaccine. Only the wealthy seem to have access to this in Nigeria because they can afford it.

Nigeria as a country can afford a cervical screening and prevention programme but the death of these women from a preventable disease does not prick the conscience of our politicians, policy makers, healthcare practitioners and the public.

Men and the HPV Infection While what we hear about is the deaths from cervical cancer, this virus may cause cancer of the vagina and vulva in women, cancers of the penis in men and cancers of the anus and oropharynx (back of the throat) in men and women.

HPV vaccination could prevent most of these cancers. Why have we as Nigerians developed a lukewarm attitude to the loss of lives? Why are those in positions to be advocates not crying out loud? The press, patients' advocates, public health practitioners, politicians and the public need to stand up and fight for the right to life. Each Nigerian Life is Priceless.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. Nigeria needs a cervical cancer screening and prevention program

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