February 4 was World Cancer Day, and I remember how, some years ago, a group of doctors came to my church to talk about ovarian cancer. It wasn’t a pleasant talk to listen to at all, cancer is not our portion, amen? However, the reality is that it is happening. That year alone, about three women in our church died from ovarian and cervical cancer complications. Women became afraid, who was next?
There are many factors that cause cancer, from our lifestyle, DNA, diet and even the environment. Sometimes it does feel like there is very little one can do to avoid cancer but are we really powerless? We have seen how information about breast cancer has actually reduced the mortality rate, so what can you as a woman do to prevent ovarian and cervical cancer?
You have to get vaccinated against HPV. According to health professionals, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is responsible for about four different forms of cancers including cervical cancer. The vaccine for HPV is available in most general and teaching hospitals in Nigeria. It can be a hassle going to government hospitals but do it for your health and your loved ones, and if you can afford it, go to competent private hospitals. Young children can also be vaccinated against this virus.
Regular pap smears
I remember when I had my first pap smear. I was so scared of it. Before then, I watched YouTube videos of the procedure before I could gather the courage to get it done. I tell you, it was a waste of fear. The process was seamless and before I could count to 100 it was done. Talk to your doctor, get it done as regularly as needed.
Be sexually responsible
One of the things we are often told about sex is pregnancy. But pregnancy is not all that can happen through sex. We know of HIV and all the other diseases. According to health professionals, women who are HIV positive are more susceptible to developing ovarian cancer. Besides, the female body reacts to differently to bacteria and viruses that are dormant in male bodies. If you are sexually active always protect yourself.
Find a hospital/doctor you are comfortable with who you can ask questions. Get started as soon as you can, remember that when it comes to health, prevention is better than cure!