Over 5,250 lives are lost every year in Kenya
following cervical cancer.
This is according to a research conducted by the
World Health Organization (WHO) in September 2018, which shows that, next to
breast cancer, cervical cancer is the second ranked women killer disease in
It further states that cervical cancer is common
among women aged between 21 to 65 years old.
Researchers and physicians have put in place endless
efforts to fight the disease, but its effects continue to worsen owing to the fact
that patients seek help during the late stages of the fatal illness.
But what really entails to this killer disease and
the realities patients go through. News 9 Kenya takes us through the realities of cervical cancer.
First, we look at some of the symptoms related to
cervical cancer that women should look out for and go get Pap smear tests as soon
as they identify any of them.
They include; vaginal bleeding; after sex, between
menstrual periods, post-menopause, watery, pink or foul-smelling vaginal
discharge and pain in the pelvic area
These advances to another stage which will lead to
other signs including back pain, fatigue, weight loss and leakage of urine or
stool via the vagina
In addition to these highly embarrassing and
discomforting symptoms, women living with cervical cancer are stigmatized by
their own communities –their own people.
Like HIV/AIDS, cancer comes with a stigma of its own
and patients carry it like a huge pile of shit. No matter how heavy it gets, or
how much it stinks, women are supposed to keep going.
Agnes* who preferred to keep her real name
anonymous, revealed that when people found out that she was battling cervical
cancer, they started treating her differently. They walked on eggshells around
her. They pitied her; while others talked behind her back.
is worse than AIDS. Let us give her a few months and she’ll be gone. Maybe she
had too much sex. Too many abortions. Too many different men. That’s her
punishment and she deserves it! They would say.
Most of the things that people say are
nothing more than stereotypes blindly constructed by our ignorant societies in
an attempt to understand the disease.
Truth be told, no patient can really
tell what caused their cancer; because sometimes it’s hard to be sure.
Here are some of the most common causes
of cervical cancer: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection, smoking, herpes, having
multiple sexual partners, use of some birth control pills for a long time.
Researchers advise staying away from some
of the above mentioned causes can help women stay safe from facing the realities
of cervical cancer. Furthermore, when diagnosed during its early stages, the
disease is curable.
Women who seek treatment have different
experiences. A study dubbed “Not so simple. The impact of cervical cell changes
and treatment” and conducted by Jostrust, unravels such cases.
Some women have it easy while others go
through side effects that they are totally unprepared for.
The study shows that 86% of women
diagnosed with cervical cancer bleed for up to 6 weeks during the treatment
period. 15% of them do not expect it, only 9% of the women are aware of the
fact that they might experience extremely low libido. Following the treatment,
33% experience pain during and after having sexual intercourse and only 10%
know that they would be plagued by anxiety, depression and fear of cancer
From this experience, cervical cancers
can abruptly change a woman’s life; plunging her deeper into a darker,
Women are also advised to get
vaccination against HPV and go for regular screening for the disease.