Early detection key to cervical cancer cure

The number of cervical cancer patients in the Sultanate is high in comparison with other countries and it is the time women take precautions against this fatal disease, according to doctors.
According to the data from the Non-Communicable Diseases Department at the Ministry of Health (MoH), cervical cancer incidence rates have been on the rise in Oman while breast cancer still remains predominant among women.
Cervical cancer comprises about 3 per cent of cancer cases. In one year the average number of cases recorded at the Royal Hospital is 32.
Dr Thuraia Rashid al Rawahi, senior consultant and gynecological oncologist at the Royal Hospital, said that women between the age brackets of 25 and 65 are prone to cervical cancer and early detection is crucial.
“A good percentage of cervical cancer cases can be avoided if early diagnosis is done and it’s very easy to treat at the initial stage itself,” she said. “Routine cervical screening at least every 3 years is key to tackle the issue.”
Additionally, any woman above 32 needs must take a pap smear test and make sure she is free from this deadly disease.
“Women should opt for regular tests against HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) which is the primary prevention of cervical cancer. The secondary prevention is through screening such as regular PAP smear tests,” said Dr Mizun Tufail al Rahman, senior Consultant and family physician at the Ministry of Health.
“Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cells of the cervix which is the lower part of the uterus,” said Dr Raaji Narayanankutty.
Oman has a population of 1.06 million of women aged 15 years and older who are at risk of developing cervical cancer. Cervical cancer ranks the third most frequent cancer among women in Oman and the third most frequent cancer among women between 15 and 44 years of age.
“In Western Asia, the region where Oman belongs to, about 2.5 per cent of women in the general population are estimated to harbour cervical HPV-16/18 infection at a given time, and 72.4 per cent of invasive cervical cancers are attributed to HPVs,” said Dr Dilip Singhvi, internal medicine specialist.
“Timely screening and vaccines can help prevent the development of cervical cancer,” Dr Singhvi said.
“But vaccination has its own side effects,” said Dr Thuraia. “Early diagnosis is the best way out to tackle the menace of cervical cancer,” Dr Mizun said.
To spread awareness among women against cervical cancer, the UNFPA Arab States Regional Office and other partners are organising a regional Forum on Cervical Cancer in January 2021.