At least 1,621 women in Malawi die of cervical cancer every year due to delays in seeking early medical diagnosis of the disease in the country’s hospitals.
“Cancer registry records indicate that every year, 2,316 women, on average, are diagnosed with cervical cancer out of whom 1,621 die of the disease,” said Deputy spokesperson for the Ministry of Health (MoH), Adrian Chikumbe, describing the statistics as alarming.
He attributed the development to people’s delays in accessing early medical care which mostly leads to cancer diagnosis.
“Most women do not realize that they have cervical cancer until when it is advanced and it becomes incurable,” Chikumbe in an interview, adding that others may realize that they have cancer after a couple of years.
“The statistics however,” he added, “do not reflect the actual prevalence rates because not all women go for early diagnosis of the disease in the country’s hospitals.”
Chikumbe therefore encourage all women and girls to go for cervical cancer screening noting that if detected early, it is controllable.
President of the Cancer Association of Malawi (CAM), Chifundo Chogawana concurred with Chikumbe that a number of people present themselves to hospitals after the cancer has worsened.
He however, was quick to point out that the trend has changed due to massive sensitization which the association is carrying out.
“We conduct awareness days and public lectures besides distributing Chichewa brochures on cancer in rural areas.
“Apart from that we are also sensitizing women to be going for screening through visual inspection with acetic acid at the most nearest clinics. This is one of the cheapest methods of cervical cancer screening which is within reach because it only involves use of vinegar,” added Chogawana.—Malawi News Agency