Women’s Month: A Cervical Cancer Screening Campaign

”In this month of March dedicated to women, the Ministry of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention, in collaboration with its technical and financial partners involved in the fight against cancer, undertakes to organize a mass screening campaign cancer of the cervix in at least five thousand women, to ensure the medical, surgical and radiotherapy treatment of the cases which will be diagnosed”said Minister Jean-Jacques Mbungani.

This campaign, he said, will not only allow screening for cervical cancer, but also the phenotyping of the prevalent papillomaviruses in order to order, in the days to come, the corresponding vaccine and fight effectively against this disease. According to him, human papillomavirus infections are sexually transmitted, asymptomatic and cause several diseases, ranging from simple warts to several types of cancer, including: cancer of the cervix; vulva, rectal orifice, male genitalia, oropharyngeal area and high-grade precancerous lesions. There are more than two hundred serotypes known to date, nine of which are at high oncogenic risk.

These viruses, continued the Minister of Health, are responsible for almost 100% of cervical cancer. In the world, this cancer occupies the 4e rank among women in terms of prevalence. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), it ranks first for all cancers combined. For Jean-Jacques Mbungani, this difference is justified by the systematic introduction of vaccines against human papillomaviruses in developed countries in young girls and boys before the age of active sexual activity, ie between 11 and 14 years. ‘‘This has enabled these developed countries to set a new target, that of eradicating cervical cancer by 2030”he noted.

Control strategies

Although cancer of the cervix occupies the first place of all cancers in the DRC, the Minister of Health indicated that it remains the one which is easily avoidable, detectable. ”Diagnosed early, treatment is not complex”, he indicated. Aligning with international health recommendations, the head of Health in the DRC is making efforts to fight against this scourge.

Mention should be made of the outlines of joint work between the National Center for the Fight against Cancer and the Expanded Vaccination Program initiated for the introduction of the vaccine against HPV in the DRC. The National Center for the Fight against Cancer is working to set up a regular and long-lasting screening program for cervical cancer. It should be noted that several orders for anticancer drugs and other therapeutic solutions have been placed by the Ministry of Public Health, Hygiene and Prevention in order to ensure an uninterrupted supply.

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