Cervical cancer poses health concern in Vanuatu
Around 15 women every year are left to die because no further treatment is available in Vanuatu to treat Stage two and three of Cervical Cancer.
A leading Doctor on Reproductive Health in Vanuatu said it’s a sad story for many families, saying most of the women are the back bones of the family.
Vanuatu today can only treat stage one of Cervical Cancer which involves surgical removal of the cervix and uterus.
For stage three doctors usually advised them to get further treatment overseas, but the cost is to high for many families.
Dr Errollyn Tungu said 15 women were in that stage last year and this year Vila central Hospital has already identified 12 of them.
“15 is a huge number, there’s nothing we can do for these women in Vanuatu but let them decide whether they can get further treatment overseas or not,” Said Dr Errollyn Tungu.
Stage three of Cervical Cancer requires radiation therapy which involves strong X-rays to kill cancer cells and Vanuatu lacks such facility.
90% of Cervical Cancer cases is caused by Human Papilloma virus pass from one person to another during sex.
The risk factor identified by Dr Tungu are girls having sex at an early age and having multiple partners.
“In Vanuatu the best way to tackle this issue is to allow for early detections, we are encouraging women who are sexually active to do Pap smear tests, especially those in their 30’s and upwards,” said Dr Tungu.