News / Health

Simple Technique Could Mean End of Cervical Cancer

Simple Technique Could Mean End of Cervical Canceri
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
Carol Pearson
March 06, 2014 11:51 PM
Most people think of malaria, AIDS and childbirth as leading causes of death for women in sub-Saharan Africa. But there's another killer: Cervical cancer. VOA's Carol Pearson tells us about a simple test and technology that can save the lives of women in developing countries.
Carol Pearson
Most people think of malaria, AIDS and childbirth as leading causes of death for women in sub-Saharan Africa. But there's another killer: Cervical cancer. There is a simple test and technology that can save the lives of women in developing countries.

Every year, around the globe, half a million women develop cervical cancer and more than a quarter of a million die. The overwhelming majority of those deaths occur in developing countries.

In Burkina Faso, Adjaratou Kinda learned too late that she had cervical cancer.  

"They said there is nothing else they can do for me here," said Kinda.

A simple, inexpensive test could have saved her life.

In developed countries, most women can be screened for cervical cancer with a non-invasive test at a doctor's office. If lab results show abnormal cells, they have options: cryotherapy - killing pre-cancerous cells by freezing the cervix, and, in more advanced cases, radiation or surgery.  

In developing countries, women don't have these options.  

As a result, in sub-Saharan Africa, women who are HIV positive are surviving AIDS, but dying of cervical cancer.

"In the pre-cancerous stage there are no symptoms. There’s no pain. There’s no bleeding.  There’s no discharge," said Dr. John Varallo, who is with Jhpiego, a non-profit health organization. "The woman feels well.  But that’s when she needs to be screened."

Jhpiego is helping establish programs in Burkina Faso and other countries so doctors, nurses and midwives can screen and treat pre-cancerous cells in one visit. A solution of simple table vinegar turns pre-cancerous cells white. During the same visit, cryotherapy kills them.

It takes 10 years or more for those cells to become cancerous. And yet cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide.  

"It’s projected that by 2030, 98 percent of those cases will be occurring in developing countries. And, it’s really unnecessary because cervical cancer is almost completely preventable," said Varallo.

The World Health Organization calls cervical cancer a leading public health concern, and now with an inexpensive test, more women can be screened and their lives saved.

"It’s relatively easy to learn, does not require anesthesia, does not require electricity and you put a probe on the cervix with compressed gas through a tank and you do, what we call, a double freeze technique," continued Varallo.

Varallo says the procedure is 95 percent effective. If screening and treatment can become more widespread, there will be no need for women like Adjaratou Kinda to learn that it's too late.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More