Challenges with Cervical Cancer Treatment in Cameroon

  • Manga S
  • Kanjo M
  • Ngwa W
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Abstract

Objective: Assess the prevalence of cervical cancer in Cameroon and the challenges of obtaining treatment. Methods: Acomprehensive nurse-led self-sustainedWomen's Health Program (WHP) of the Cameroon Baptist Convention Health Services screens women for cervical cancer using digital cervicography in conjunction with visual inspection with acetic acid and Lugol's iodine in a see-and-treat approach targeting rural women. Precancerous lesions are treated with cryotherapy, cold coagulation, or loop electrical excision procedure, according to World Health Organization criteria. Biopsies are performed for lesions suspicious for invasive cervical cancer (ICC) and sent for histopathology. Results: From 2007 to September 2016, 464 ICCs were diagnosed among 66,275 women screened (prevalence of 700/100,000), compared to the 5-year age-standardized prevalence of ICC for Cameroon of 80.7/100,000 reported by the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC). Radical hysterectomies can only be performed in a few referral facilities and are too costly for most patients. The only available radiotherapy is an aging cobalt unit in the economic capital, Douala. Most patients can not afford to travel there for six weeks of radiotherapy. Due to lack of resources and availability of appropriate treatment, the WHP refers most ICC patients for palliative care. Conclusions: ICC prevalence among women screened for cancer is 8.6 times higher than the five-year IARC prevalence. ICC patients face difficulties in getting either surgical or radiation treatment in Cameroon and treatment needs to be more accessible and affordable. HPV vaccination and screening are crucial in preventing ICC, given the cost and limited availability of treatment

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Manga, S., Kanjo, M., & Ngwa, W. (2017). Challenges with Cervical Cancer Treatment in Cameroon. Obstetrics and Gynaecology Cases - Reviews, 4(2). https://doi.org/10.23937/2377-9004/1410104

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