Reduce the Risk of Cervical Cancer Through Vaccination
Cervical cancer is a leading cause of death for women in developing countries.
The primary underlying cause of cervical cancer is the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – see latest HPV Fact Sheet here – which is transmitted through skin to skin contact and is a very common virus infecting most people at some point in their lives.
There are many types of HPV and some of the virus types can infect the cells that could lead to cancer. About 40 types are sexually transmitted through genital contact while mostly two types (16 + 18) are considered high risk in South Africa – view cervical cancer infographic here…
National DoH HPV Vaccination Programme in Schools
As persistent infection with HPV may lead to cervical cancer, CANSA encourages all women in the age group of 9-26 years (provided they are not sexually active) to get the HPV vaccine.
The government is currently running the National Department of Health (DoH) HPV Vaccination Programme in all public schools, including former Model C, around South Africa, providing all grade four (9 to 10-year old girls) with the opportunity to receive the HPV vaccination.
The DoH also provides an implementation guide to the schools, giving educators the necessary information regarding the vaccination and reducing the cancer risk – see DoH FAQ’s re Vaccination Programme…
“CANSA is grateful to the DoH for offering free HPV vaccinations to South African girls. As the leading force in cancer control in South Africa, CANSA is proud to stand with the government in educating all young women about the dangers of HPV and cervical cancer, and offer an opportunity to take their health in their own hands as cervical cancer can be effectively treated if detected and diagnosed early,” says CANSA CEO, Elize Joubert.
CANSA Provides Screening for Cancer
CANSA has nine Mobile Health Clinics that travel to remote areas throughout South Africa to reach communities who would otherwise not have access to screening. They offer clinical breast examinations, Pap smear screening tests for cervical cancer, as well as other health tests such as cholesterol, blood pressure as well as Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests for men to detect prostate abnormalities. Screening is also available at CANSA Care Centres country-wide.
Reducing Risk & Early Detection Key
“We urge all girls to get the HPV vaccination – speak to your local practitioner to find out where this vaccination is available – and for all women to go for regular Pap smears (screening test for the early detection of cervical cancer) at least every three years as from age 25,” Joubert concludes.
CANSA offers a unique integrated service to the public and to all people affected by cancer. CANSA is a leading role-player in cancer research and the scientific findings and knowledge gained from our research are used to realign our health programmes, as well as strengthen our watchdog role to the greater benefit of the public. Our health programmes comprise health and education campaigns; CANSA Care Centres that offer a wide range of care and support services to those affected by cancer; stoma and other clinical support; medical equipment hire, as well as a toll-free line to offer information and support. We offer a Tele Counselling service in seven languages free of charge. We also supply patient care and support in the form of 8 CANSA Care Homes in the main metropolitan areas for out-of-town cancer patients and CANSA-TLC lodging for parents and guardians of children undergoing cancer treatment.
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