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

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid