I got the shock of my life 4 days ago. Last Saturday, I met a childhood friend Shola, who also doubles as my family doctor. We had an extensive discussion, reminiscing over our childhood days. We talked about many things, our secondary school adventures, old class mates, and so on. Our discussion turned sour when he told me about his secondary school crush, Bimpe, who recently died of cervical cancer. May her gentle soul rest in peace I muttered.
He further went on to tell me about cervical cancer, a cancer peculiar to females. The cause of cervical cancer is Human Papilloma Virus and how it is transmitted via sex. I had thought condom use protects against all forms of sexually transmitted infections but I was wrong, Human papilloma virus is an exception. This virus also causes genital warts in some cases, he said. He explained the deficiency in our country, that in saner climes, the vaccine is given to school age children especially between the ages 10 and12. Gardasil, the vaccine is more effective in this age group because most are yet to be sexually active. I told him my daughter who is presently age 10 will benefit from this. We agreed I bring her for the vaccine next weekend.
During dinner that day, I decided to raise the discussion. I told my daughter about the cervical cancer vaccine and its benefits on her health. I had wanted to be sure she was still a virgin so I played a fast one on her. I told her being a virgin is a pre-requisite for this vaccine, though this is an erroneous belief by many. That night I got the shocker of my life. I saw the changed reaction on my daughters face. ‘So you are not a virgin!’ I screamed. Immediately, I lost the appetite for food. A bad news it was. I wished it was a joke. At ten!
She confided in her mother that she got deflowered a year ago. I felt like a failed father, I had no clue all along. Where I’ve missed it? This world has turned something else.Get your daughters vaccinated against cervical cancer today.
Of all the female cancers, cervical cancer is the only one that offers great potentials for prevention. It takes about 15 to 20 years to develop from precancerous state to cancer.
Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women in developing countries. It is the second most common cancer in women worldwide after cancer of the breast with 85% of deaths occurring in developing countries.
W.H.O recommends screening of at least once in a life time for women in developing world.
Screening test involves Pap smear, visual inspection and HPV testing.
See your doctor today for a comprehensive screening.