Help is on the way for women in Ghana exposed to the leading cancer-related killer of women in the country - cervical cancer - as medical staff at the Korle Bu Polyclinic have received training in specialised cervical cancer screening.
The volunteer doctors and a nurse have made themselves available for much needed training in colposcopy- a procedure which allows for the visual inspection and identification of abnormal cells in the vulva, vagina and cervix.
The colposcope device allows for the early detection of the abnormal cells which may lead to cervical cancer, a silent killer which takes the lives of about 2,000 Ghanaian women annually.
The training programme, which began Tuesday, was led by Dr Theodora Pepera, a consultant gynaecologist and colposcopist from the UK.
Speaking to Myjoyonline.com, Dr Pepera expressed concern over the increasing number of cervical cancer cases in the country and stressed the urgent necessity for early detection and treatment to save lives.
Cervical cancer has overtaken breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer-related female morbidity in the country, she revealed, adding that current estimates indicate that some 3,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer annually.
Of this number, she said, about 2,000 die from the disease due to the late or non-detection of the silent killer.
After this training, and the subsequent establishment of cervical screening at the polyclinic, doctors will be able to better screen and treat women who are at risk of developing the cancer.
They will also be able to train their colleagues in the procedure.
Early detection and treatment of abnormal cells permits quick and less complicated treatment for women. Radical surgery, which usually follows late detection and spread of the disease sometimes includes hysterectomy; surgical removal of the womb.
Screening would save women who are of child-bearing age, from such radical operations which may remove from them, the ability to bear children.
Acting Head of the polyclinic, Dr Roberta Lamptey, was optimistic about the prospects of the training programme, which will further cement the polyclinic’s position as the premier family training centre in the country.
“Our residents are spread across the country. So people trained here will most likely end up serving other parts of Ghana”, she explained.
She revealed that cervical screening will be held every Thursday at the Polyclinic, starting from 22 January 2015 and that steps are being taken to offer other less invasive and therefore more comfortable testing methods for women’s gynaecological health.