BUJUMBURA November 11th (ABP) – The program manager at ABUBEF (Burundi Association for Family Welfare), Dr. Audrine Kaneza, pleaded during an interview with ABP on Wednesday, for screening cervical cancer spreads to all health centers so that women can access them.
Dr. Kaneza said that ABUBEF organized a cervical cancer screening campaign from October 28 to 30, 2021 and that out of 168 women who were screened, two had cervical cancer very advanced while one had precancerous lesions. The latter was treated and cured. Even after that campaign two other women were screened for that serious disease. That is why she has called on all women aged 25 and over to get tested for this cancer once a year.
Dr. Kaneza said that cervical cancer screening is a routine activity that is done in all ABUBEF centers located in six provinces of the country namely Bujumbura Mairie, Rumonge, Ngozi, Gitega, Muyinga and Kirundo.
She lamented, however, that women do not respond overwhelmingly to take that all-important test because, according to her, cervical cancer is a disease that attacks a woman slowly because the signs are imperceptible.
A woman who catches the virus responsible for this cancer, for example, at age 15 will develop precancerous lesions at age 30, and if she does not get tested, she will never know she has cancer. When she starts to feel pain, especially during intercourse and to have bleeding, the cancer is at an advanced stage where nothing can be saved.
She said it would be difficult to give figures, but said three out of 168 screened women who came forward during the campaign show the situation to be “alarming”.
To those who think that screening would be expensive, she indicated that the price is set at 5,000 BIF in all ABUBEF centers, a ridiculous price compared to the expenses caused by the disease. Better safe than sorry, she advised. She called on the men and women of the media to speak out further so that this disease is taken into account at the same level as other cancers.
Dr. Kaneza said that the PNLS (National AIDS Control Program) had trained doctors in all hospitals and health centers on screening and treatment from precancerous lesions, but she does not know why this program has not continued so that screening can be done in all hospitals and health centers.
She also said that a vaccine would be available for young girls and that parents can buy it for their children, but for her, this vaccine should be made possible and accessible to all.
She did not forget to plead for the country to have a cancer center. Women would not be tested out of fear, she said, because there is no treatment center.
The virus that causes this disease is the human papilloma virus and is transmitted sexually. Women at greatest risk of getting it are young girls who have sex at a young age (15 to 20 years old) with insufficiently developed bodies, women with multiple partners and infected women by HIV / AIDS.