Over 1000 cervical cancer cases detected each year in Sri Lanka


By Dilanthi Jayamanne

The National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) yesterday said that 1,000 to 1,200 new cervical cancer patients were detected in the country annually.

Sources attached to the Programme said that in 2008 there had been over 855 cervical cancers recorded under the cancer surveillance system. However, the number of cases could be much more as cancer patients went to private hospitals as well state-run hospitals without specialised cancer treatment units.

They said that cancer which affected married women could be prevented with early detection. Cervical cancers are caused by the Human papilloma virus. Early detection involved screening tests carried out with a pap smear during which a ‘smear’ sample is taken from the cervix for testing. The pap smear could be done at any of the 900 ‘Well Woman Clinics’ conducted by the government health service.

Sources said that prevention also involved responsible sexual behaviour as men and women could transmit the virus to their spouses – especially in cases of extra marital affairs.

The other method available for prevention was the HPV vaccine – which was still not available in government health sector. The vaccine was available in the private sector, they said.

Meanwhile ,the Chief of the Epidemiology Unit on Thursday (23) said that discussions were being held to provide the HPV vaccine under the National Immunisation Programme to girls.

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