English | Dzongkha Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Cervical cancer; among leading cause of death of Bhutanese women

Jun 25, 2014

Cervical cancer-leading cause of death of Bhutanese womenCervical cancer is one of the leading causes of death of Bhutanese women. About 25-30 women die yearly, due to limited awareness and late diagnosis, despite it being preventable. And this year, nearly 30 cases of cervical cancer have already been detected.

Cervical cancer is caused by sexually transmitted infection, Human Papillomavirus. It is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix.

Even though, Pap test – which helps detect potentially pre-cancerous process – is free in the country, 65 percent of Bhutanese women are always diagnosed late.

 The Gynecology Specialist of JDWNR Hospital, Dr. Ugyen Tshomo, said women failing to follow-up with their report, is a bigger issue. She said most Bhutanese women fail to come for a follow up check up as instructed, which leads to cancer. “All women between 25-65 years old, who are or were ever sexually active must have Pap test every three years. Till they turn 65 years they should not stop.”

The Ministry of Health has been engaged in creating awareness and prevention program but  yet to be effective.

“This vaccine which we give in Bhutan is called Gardasil, it protects against 70% of cervical cancer.” Dr. Ugyen Tshomo said women should undergo screening like everybody. “They should not think, oh I am vaccinated and I will not get cancer.”

The development of cervical cancer has four stages. Screening can detect pre-cancerous stages. There is effective treatment before it evolves into cancer. Early childbirth, smoking and long-term use of contraceptive pills also raises the risk of developing cervical cancer.

 At present, the National Referral Hospital offers four types of treatment for cervical cancer.

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