Media must lead cervical cancer awareness campaign

Media practitioners have been charged to lead advocacy through consistent programmes, interviews, news broadcasts, and support for other campaigners to create massive cervical cancer awareness across the country to reduce the mortality rate.

Dr. Mrs. Anita Owusu-Afriyie, a Medical Officer in the Oncology Unit of the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) made the call appealed to media practitioners and media owners, communication experts, and other online platforms to help propagate cervical cancer awareness and its mortality rate in Ghana.

The IMaH Medical Officer made the appeal at the median public health advocacy “Your Health! Our Concern!”, a Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative.

“Your Health! Our Concern! is a public health advocacy platform initiated by the Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office to explore the parameters of the four approaches to health communication: informative, educating, persuasive, and prompting.

Dr. Mrs. Owusu-Afriyie explained that, unlike breast cancer where awareness and screening are observed, cervical cancer awareness is rarely heard, “we need major advocacy to educate the public about the dangers of cervical cancer in the country”.

She stressed that “most people are more aware of breast cancer than cervical cancer because media platforms have been created and used to spread the news about breast cancer but unfortunately cervical cancer awareness is low”.

She added that even though the month of January has been set aside to publicize cervical cancer, “there was poor publicity and wished the media actively get involved in the propagation of messages about cervical cancer.

“Women in the rural area especially have less knowledge of cervical cancer and it is cancer with the highest mortality rate. I wish most media platforms would get involved in the spread of awareness for people to get screened”.

The IMaH Medical Officer called on media houses and other philanthropists to help publicize cervical cancer and educate them on the risk of not being screened or vaccinated.

Speaking on the topic: “Some cancers and how to prevent them,” Dr. Mrs. Owusu-Afriyie stressed that cervical cancer remains the leading cause of cancer mortality among women in the country.

Dr. Mrs. Owusu-Afriyie said it was rather unfortunate that the data system to identify the number of deaths caused by cervical cancer was difficult to get in Ghana however, research shows that globally, cervical cancer was one of the leading causes of death in women.

She said multiple sexual factors contributed to the risk factors of being diagnosed with cervical cancer because the transmission was through sexual intercourse and mentioned that people who do not take good care of the female reproductive organ also were at high risk of contracting the disease.

Dr. Mrs. Owusu-Afriyie said symptoms included brownish bloodlike discharge from the reproductive organ which was very offensive due to the position of the cervix noting that bleeding after sex and pain after sex.

Mr. Francis Ameyibor, Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Manager noted that GNA-Your Health! Our Concern! seeks to set the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy.

“Parents’ health should be the concern of their children and vice versa; employees’ health should be the concern of employers; and in general, Health professionals’ health should be the concern of the public, while the reverse should also hold,” Mr. Ameyibor explained.

He said, “we must all be concerned about the health of some other person in order to develop a healthy society”.

Mr. Ameyibor said GNA-Tema Regional Office has, therefore, created “Your Health! Our Concern” as a weekly health dialogue platform to serve as an effective communication channel for health professionals to educate the public on healthy practices and other general health challenges.


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