There is no way to know for sure if any woman will get uterus cancer. Some women get it without being at high risk.
Knowing about the sad story of thirty-three year old Naima (not real name) is reflective of her life-and-death question as she has been suffering from uterus cancer for the last two years. A sex-worker by profession, Naima, after being diagnosed with uterus cancer, has been advised by physicians to go for two chemotherapies in every month.Poor economic status has stood on way to her proper treatment, exposing the fact that many more poor women with uterus cancer are struggling for survival.
Such situation reveals that the problem of uterus cancer and poverty is interwoven with many societal challenges and issues that Bangladesh faces.
Cancer of the uterus is the most common cancer of the female reproductive organs. It is the fourth most cancer among women overall, behind breast cancer, lung cancer, and colorectal cancer.
Experts said cancer is a global problem accounting for almost 13 percent of all deaths worldwide. This equates to over seven million people a year, more than is caused by HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria combined. The most frequent cancer among women in Africa, Asia, and South America with an estimated incidence of 528,000 per year with 266,000 annual uterus cancer deaths.
They said although there is effective screening for cervical cancer, it continues to be a healthcare problem in developing countries where effective screening programs are limited.
A recent research showed that, nearly 11,000 women die of uterus cancer annually in Bangladesh, while about five crore females are at risk to be affected by the disease.The research conducted by a team of uterus cancer experts showed that the illiterate and sex workers are at the great risk of the disease.
According to another survey, conducted by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), around 5.28 lakh women are affected by uterus cancer every year in the world. Of them, around 2.66 lakh women lose their lives due to the cancer. Besides, around 83,000 women of developing countries are affected by the disease every year afresh. Of them, around 26,000 women die due to the cancer.
According to the survey, the uterus cancer is the second killer disease of the women in the world.
Another survey of National Cancer Registration in 2014 revealed that the percentage of uterus cancer in women is 17.9 in the country. One woman among five are suffering from uterus cancer.
Doctors said HPV virus is mostly responsible for the uterus cancer. But a woman could get relief from the disease after taking vaccine. They can take the vaccine between nine and 40 years. Besides, every woman should go for Pap test after every two years.
Professor Dr Md Habibullha Talukder, Head of Cancer Epidemiology Department of National Cancer Research Institute and Hospital, said shyness, hesitation, family status and ignorance of own body are pushing the females toward the deadly cancer disease.
“We need to know about the reproductive health,” he said adding that the woman should go for regular health check-up after marriage. Besides, they need to be more aware about their health, he added.
Professor Dr Sultana Razia Begum of the Gynaecology Department at Square Hospital said the women mostly suffer from uterus cancer for seven reasons. These include unsafe sex, early marriage, smoking or consuming tobacco and giving birth to more children. “The disease can be turned into an epidemic form, if necessary steps are not taken in this regard,” she added.
Senior gynaecologist Dr Monowara Begum said “Those males who are engaged in sex with a number of women can spread papilloma virus to other women as a carrier of the virus. And in many cases, that man also could be attacked by genital cancer.”
Many women die of cancer, but their families do not know the reason for their death, she said, adding that many women, being ashamed, hide the primary signs of uterus cancer and do not want to examine. As a result, they are attacked by uterus cancer gradually.
The doctor said only proper education on sex and reproductive health as well as awareness can keep the country’s womenfolk free from uterus cancer.
“For this, spearheading a campaign by the government and non-government organisations in both urban and rural areas is very much essential,” she opined.
Approximately 70 percent of recurrences take place within three years of initial therapy.