The Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge) has for the last couple of days received a massive turnout of women for cervical cancer screening test as it dedicates the month of February for the free screening of the disease.
The exercise, which started on Sunday, February 2 has so far screened about 270 women as at the time the Ghana News Agency (GNA) visit on Wednesday.
The screening, which starts daily at 0800 hours to 1400 from Monday to Friday, would end on February 28.
Mrs Juliet Amewu, the Principal Nursing Officer (PNO) of the Reproductive Health Unit, speaking to the GNA, said the interest shown by women in the screening against the deadly disease was overwhelming.
Cervical cancer screening is an effective method for detecting abnormal cells in the cervix, which happens to be the entrance to the womb.
The PNO said women between the ages of 25 to 45 years would be having the screening for free but those above 45 years and girls below 25 would pay a fee of GHC125.00, which is also subsidised.
She noted that girls from nine years who have not had sex before could take the vaccination without the screening process at a cost of about GHC290.00, adding that, the same amount goes for those who get screened and are negative.
The vaccination has three dosages: the first dose is administered after screening when one is found to be negative to the reactive agent; then a month afterwards the second dose is administered, and then six months later the last dose. Each dose costs GHC290.00.
The same process goes for girls from age nine. Boys are also encouraged to get themselves checked, she added.
She said the type of screening, which is the Visual Inspection of the Cervix with Acetic Acid (VIA) being undertaken by the Unit requires the age bracket of 25 to 45.
Cervical cancer is the second most frequently occurring cancer in women after breast cancer and common cause of cancer-related deaths among women in developing countries.
Current health statistics estimate that in Ghana, every year 3,151 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 2,119 dies from the disease. It is common in women and girls who are sexually active.
Deaths due to cervical cancer are projected to rise by almost 25 per cent over the next ten years, hence the need for the awareness to allow for more screening among women and girls.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer is acquired through the skin to skin contact with someone who has the virus during sexual intercourse.
Once infected, the virus could stay in the host for about ten to 15 years before symptoms start to show.
Symptoms of the disease include offensive discharge from the vagina, blood flow after the normal menstrual period, during or after sexual intercourse and women in their menopausal age who bleed, prolonged back pains, loss of weight among others.