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‘Cancer Affecting More Young Women’

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Monday, September 6th, 2021
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Cervical cancer is increasing every year and is mostly developing in women aged between 20 and 24, yet normally the peak period is around 35 to 40, the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe (CAZ) has said.

Speaking during a virtual meeting held last week focusing on cancer, the Information Research and Evaluations officer at the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe Mr Lovemore Makurirofa said there had been a shift in terms of the most affected group by cervical cancer.

According to statistics published by National Cancer Registry last year, in 2018 cervical cancer constituted 80 per cent of all cancers attributed to human papilloma infection.

Cervical cancer cases increased from 31,6 per cent to 36,1 per cent in 2017.

Mr Makurirofa attributed the cause of high cervical cancer cases amongst young women to HPV and HIV infections, HPV testing not being readily available to all and requiring laboratory tests and the general perception this age group has that they can not develop cervical cancer because they are still young and do not go for screening and treatment of STIs. Speaking during the same meeting, Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals (ZACH) Technical Advisor Dr Onai Diura-Vera urged women living with HIV to frequently get screened for cervical cancer as they are more vulnerable.

“Women living with HIV are six times more likely to develop cervical cancer than a woman without HIV,” she said.

Dr Diura-Vera said 75 per cent of HIV women had a high risk of acquiring HPV and such women with compromised immune systems had more progression to cancer.

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