Knowledge and practices of women in rural Nkwerre, Nigeria, regarding cervical cancer and cervical cancer screening / by Cynthia Ihekwoaba.
SubjectMedical screening Nigeria Nkwerre
Cervix uteri Cancer Nigeria Nkwerre
Cancer Nigeria Nkwerre
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The International Network of Cancer Treatment and Research (INCTR, 2004) has identified cancer as a major health problem in Nigeria, as in most other African countries. Cervical cancer is the commonest cancer in the Nigerian female and it is the leading cause of death in Nigerian women (Ayinde et al.,1998). Unfortunately, the importance of cancer as a health problem has been underplayed or totally neglected over the years by all agencies that have been advising or financing health projects in Africa. Agencies such as the World Bank and USAID give priority to infectious diseases and infant and maternal health. The apparent neglect of cancer by these agencies and the lack of emphasis on this problem has resulted in few cancer treatment facilities and cancer therapists (WHO, 2002). The Ibadan Cancer Registry, one of six cancer registries in Nigeria, a population based registry serving a population of 1.22 million within 70 square kilometers in Ibadan in the Oyo state of South West Nigeria, reported that the current estimated number of cancer cases in Nigeria is 100,000 at the present time; by 2010, it is estimated that 500,000 new cases will be diagnosed annually, 22.6% of which will be cervical cancer (INCTR, 2004). Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting women in Nigeria. Data have suggested that the maximum incidence occurs at age 50. In Nigeria, there is very little information about the prevalence rates in the general population. However, published studies have suggested that cervical cancer rates are higher than in most European countries. More recent studies have suggested that the incidence of cervical cancer in Nigeria is increasing (Okobia, 2003). Because most women in Nigeria are still not encouraged to have Pap tests, cervical cancer mortality rates are rising. The increasing mortality and morbidity rate in Nigeria from cervical cancer is a public health issue that needs to be addressed.