Maggie O’Neill, volunteer
Global Mamas welcomed Dr. Justice Arthur—a Chief Doctor from Cape Coast’s District Hospital—to educate our Mamas, their apprentices, and QC staff about cervical cancer. This is part of Global Mamas’ multi-faceted initiative to help its members achieve multi-dimensional prosperity, prosperity that goes beyond financial well-being and business growth to include health and happiness.
According to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the most common cancer among sub-Saharan African women. It kills nearly 2,000 Ghanaian women annually, and its effect on the developing world is starkly disproportionate. Of the 500,000 cases of cervical cancer reported globally each year, about 80% are from the developing world. Lack of education, regular screenings, and timely treatment have allowed this disease to thrive, despite the fact that the preventative and medicinal capacities to eradicate it already exist. In other words, the cervical cancer epidemic is an easily avoidable one.
In his talk, Dr. Arthur emphasized the importance of early detection. He explained a variety of irregularities that women might notice that ought to compel them to get screened. To an untrained eye, cervical cancer’s symptoms can be easy to dismiss as something harmless—this is why education is so critical. If a woman identifies any of the red flags that Dr. Arthur outlined, which include rough, cauliflower-like skin growth near the womb’s opening and unusual pain during sexual intercourse, then she should definitely go to a hospital for tests. Even in the absence of these signs, women between the high-risk ages of 25 and 30 should still get themselves screened regularly.
Of course, as Dr. Arthur argued, the most effective way to eradicate cervical cancer is to prevent it. It is caused by the human papillomavirus—a sexually transmitted illness that is much more likely to infect girls who are sexually active at a young age, especially those under the age of 13. Unprotected sex with multiple partners also increases the risk of HPV. Again, it is critical that young women be educated about these risks, and that there be a greater cultural awareness about the adverse physical effects of premature sexual activity.
At the end of his presentation, Dr. Arthur opened up the floor for questions, which the more than 40 Mamas, apprentices, and QC staff in attendance met with thoughtful, lively inquiry. Questions ranged from cervical cancer’s effect on reproduction, to the best ways to access quality care. The members of the Global Mamas network who attended are now armed with the knowledge needed to minimize their risks and maximize their chances of early detection should they need treatment. Moreover, they’re now educated voices in a budding regional conversation about addressing the very addressable problem of cervical cancer.