Wednesday March 20, 2019

WHO Calls for Accelerated Action To Eliminate Cervical Cancer

Women in remote, rural areas often have difficulty reaching clinics where they can be tested and treated for the disease.

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Cervical Cancer
A woman suffering from cervical cancer takes her medicine at a treatment facility in Beijing, China, June 23, 2016. VOA

Ahead of World Cancer Day (February 4), the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling for accelerated action to eliminate cervical cancer, a preventable disease that kills more than 300,000 women every year.

Cervical cancer ranks among leading causes of death for women worldwide. Nine in 10 deaths occur in poor and middle-income countries. The disease is caused by the human papillomavirus and is transmitted through sexual contact.

The WHO says cervical cancer can be cured if the infection is diagnosed and treated at an early stage. But, as with some ailments in life, prevention is the best cure. And, in the case of cervical cancer, an effective vaccine is available that can prevent the disease when given to girls between the ages of nine and 14.

Cancers, U.S.
Diakite, 46, looks out the window after her annual check up with Dr. Abdoul Aziz Kasse at the Clinique des Mamelles in Dakar, Senegal on July 13, 2017. Diakite has successfully recovered from cervical cancer thanks to Dr. Kasse and yearly checks. VOA

The WHO’s Immunization Program technical officer, Paul Bloem, says the vaccine is widely administered in rich countries. While countries with the highest burden of cervical cancer in Africa and Asia are lagging behind, he says progress is being made.

“In countries, such as Rwanda, a trailblazer in Africa, that reaches over 90 percent since five, six years. Bhutan, that reaches also 90 percent of its girls. Malaysia, that reaches 97 percent of its girls. So, there are some extremely good examples that show that this vaccine is accepted and can be delivered in low-income settings,” he said.

Bloem says four countries in Africa – Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Senegal – introduced the vaccine last year. He says 11 more countries in Africa and Asia will start using it next year.

Harnessing sperm may help fight cervical cancer
Scientists report that they have exploited the swimming power of sperms to ferry a cancer drug directly to a cervical tumour in lab tests. wikimedia commons

Princess Nothemba Simelela, WHO Assistant Director-General for Family, Women, Children and Adolescents, says a big problem in developing countries is the lack of skilled people to test and diagnose cervical cancer in women.

She says that women in remote, rural areas often have difficulty reaching clinics where they can be tested and treated for the disease. But she told VOA there are strategies governments can employ to overcome that.

Also Read: Cost And Efficiency Of Arsenic Removal From Groundwater: WHO

“We can have mobile outreach clinics. Sometimes, what you have is days on which women can be called or young girls can be brought in, specifically to get this attention,” she said.

Simelela says another strategy that governments can employ is to use school health programs. For instance, she says, Rwanda and South Africa bring the vaccine into the schools where access is available to the largest number of girls in the age groups that need to be reached. (VOA)

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Light Physical Activity May Lower CVD Risk in Women: Study

Most people do not think of folding clothes or walking to the mailbox as physical activity of any kind

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Mental Health
Cycling, walking in nature may improve your mental health. Pixabay

While strolling or running are beneficial for heart health, light physical activity, such as gardening and folding clothes, may also lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in older women, say researchers.

The study showed that such activities might be enough to significantly reduce stroke or heart failure by up to 22 per cent and the risk of heart attack or coronary death by as much as 42 per cent.

The association was strong across all racial and ethnic groups, noted the study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

“The higher the amount of activity, the lower the risk,” said co-author Andrea LaCroix, Researcher at the University of California, San Diego.

Walking
Walk your way to good health.

“And the risk reduction showed regardless of the women’s overall health status, functional ability or even age. In other words, the association with light physical activity was apparent regardless of these other factors,” LaCroix added.

For the study, researchers studied nearly 6,000 women aged 63 to 97. They were made to wear a device which measured their movement 24 hours a day for seven consecutive days. The device was also calibrated by age to distinguish between light, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

Also Read- Vitamin B in Pregnancy Prevents Brain Ailments in Baby

Most people do not think of folding clothes or walking to the mailbox as physical activity of any kind, the researchers said.

“This study suggests that for older women, any and all movement counts towards better cardiovascular health,” said David Goff, Director at National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) in the US. (IANS)