Among many diseases faced by mankind cancer is one of the most virulent, tragic and expensive. The cancer of breast, uterine and cervix can be prevented or reduced with awareness and precaution. Cervical cancers do not form suddenly. A normal cervical cell gradually develops precancerous changes that develop into cancer and this process takes several years. Detection and treatment of precancerous lesions identified by screening can potentially prevent cervical cancer. Similarly early detection is a critical factor in the treatment of breast cancer. Both breast and cervical cancer can be detected and treated best when they are discovered early.
Though still largely a hidden problem in the Nepali context there has been steep increase in the numbers of women with these two types of cancers. With awareness these two types of cancers can be treated with early diagnosis. Therefore, to provide breast and cervical health education, cancer screening and treatment for the medically underserved women, Rural Women’s Development and Unity Centre (RUWDUC) has launched an awareness campaign and screening camps on breast and cervical cancer.
RUWDUC’s work experience in women’s reproductive health sector identified uterine prolapse as one of the major health concerns affecting women. This is mainly due to poverty, low illiteracy, inadequate health services and social pressure. According to some estimates there are approximately 100,000 women in Nepal with most severe symptoms are thought to need immediate treatment. Surgery is a definite treatment and can provide a long-term solution to uterine prolapse. But women are generally deterred from seeking help because of their weak financial condition, sense of shame and due to medical centers not being within their reach. This hidden problem can be prevented and curtailed with awareness, precaution and treatment. Therefore as part of this campaign RUWDUC will conduct uterine prolapse operations for women identified with third degree uterine prolapse.
- Awareness raising on early detection and treatment of cervical and breast cancer
- To provide technical knowledge on cervical and breast cancer to nurses and ANMs
- Screening camps on breast and cervical cancer to be held in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur districts in partnership with Nepal Network of Cancer Treatment and Research.
- Conduct 50 uterine prolapse operations in Kathmandu and Chitwan districts
A total of five orientation progammes were conducted to create awareness about breast cancer and cervical cancer, the importance of timely screening for early detection of cancer to reduce the mortality of breast and cervical cancer. The first orientation programme was held for the members of the Safe Motherhood Network Federation. The other four orientations were held during the screening camps while the women waited their turn.
Training on breast and cervical cancer screening was provided to selected nurses and ANMs of Teaching Hospital, Stupa Community Hospital and Nutrition Rehabilitation Home. After the completion of the training the trainees also participated in the breast and cervical cancer screening camp. A total of 10 nurses were trained on clinical breast examination and 7 nurses and ANMs were trained on cervical cancer screening using VIA and VILI method.
The first breast and cervical cancer screening camp was held in Boudha, Kathmandu and the camp catered to a total of 126 women. The second screening camp was held in Pulchowk, Lalitpur and the camp catered to a total of 181 women. The third camp was held in Pepsicola, Bhaktapur and the camp catered to a total of 286 women. As there was a demand for another screening camp to be held by the local women of Bhaktapur another camp was once again organized in Pepsicola, Bhaktapur (central location) which catered to a total of 271 women. All the women who visited the screening camps were from lower economic strata. While waiting for their turn the women were also taught how to self-breast examine once a month. The screening team consisted of examination by a panel of doctors, trained health personnel’s, paramedical workers and a number of volunteers. The screening for cervical cancer was conducted by using VIA and VLLI tests whereas the method for screening for breast cancer was clinical breast examination followed by an ultra sound if required. A total of 58 uterine prolapse operations were conducted for women suffering from third degree uterine prolapse. 38 uterine prolapse operations were conducted in Stupa Community Hospital, Kathmandu and 20 operations were conducted in Chitwan Medical College Teaching Hospital, Chitwan.
Time Frame: January 2008 to December 2009