January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month with the aim of raising awareness about this type of cancer and the HPV vaccination. The focus this year will be ending cervical cancer within a few generations. Cervical cancer remains one of the leading causes of death among women in Suriname with an estimated annual number of 60-70 new cases.
About 80% of these cases are advanced which reduces women’s chances of survival and about 25-35 cervical cancer deaths are reported annually. The Surinamese Ministry of Health, with the support of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), has developed a National Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control Strategic Plan 2021-2030 in the fight against cervical cancer in Suriname.
With this plan, the Ministry is taking the lead in a coordinated and integrated approach to cervical cancer as a public health problem in Suriname. So let’s work together to build a healthier society by improving access to HPV vaccine, screening and treatment for cervical cancer by 2030 and eliminating cervical cancer within a few generations.
Cervical cancer is one of the most treatable cancers, as long as it is detected early and treated effectively. Cancers that are diagnosed at a late stage can also be controlled with appropriate treatment and palliative care. Through an integrated approach to prevention, screening and treatment, we can end cervical cancer as a public health problem within a few generations.
The messages for this awareness month are clear:
• Get information. Find out the facts about cervical cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes it. Help nurture the other women in your life, too.
• Get checked out. Cervical cancer screening usually begins at the age of 30 and is repeated periodically. Ask your doctor to examine you.
• Vaccinate (your daughter). The HPV vaccine is given in two doses that should start when the girl is between 9 and 14 years old.
Cervical cancer develops in a woman’s cervix (the entrance to the uterus from the vagina). Almost all cases of cervical cancer (99%) are associated with infection with the high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV), a very common sexually transmitted virus. While most HPV infections resolve spontaneously and cause no symptoms, persistent infections in women can cause cervical cancer.
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