Swaziland / eSwatini has the highest rate of cervical cancer in the world, a new report reveals.
The cancer affects the neck of the womb in women. The top 20 countries in the list reported from Global Cancer Observatory, which is owned by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), are in Africa.
Swaziland has a rate of 75.3 per 100,000 people in a mathematical measurement based on age. Second was Malawi with 72.9.
There are a number of causes of cervical cancer and these can include diet, nutrition, smoking tobacco and the physical activity a woman takes. Early sexual experience and a relatively high number of sexual partners increase the risk and severity of infection and may be seen as indirect causes of cervical cancer, the reported stated.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cervical cancer is the fourth most frequent cancer in women in the world with an estimated 570,000 new cases in 2018. Approximately 90 percent of deaths from cervical cancer occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
WHO stated, ‘The high mortality rate from cervical cancer globally could be reduced through a comprehensive approach that includes prevention, early diagnosis, effective screening and treatment programmes. There are currently vaccines that protect against common cancer-causing types of human papilloma virus and can significantly reduce the risk of cervical cancer.’
According to WHO data there were 380 new cases of cervical cancer and 238 deaths reported in Swaziland in 2018. Cervical cancer topped the list of cancers in the kingdom. It amounted to 36.1 percent of all cancer deaths in Swaziland.
Women in Swaziland are particularly vulnerable because the public health service is in meltdown as the government, which is not elected but handpicked by absolute monarch King Mswati III, has run the economy into the ground.
In July 2019, it was reported cancer patients and other seriously ill people in were being denied life-saving treatment because the government had not paid its bills to hospitals.
At least E66 million (US$4.6 million) was owed through the government-funded Phalala Fund that pays for Swazi people to travel to neighbouring South Africa for treatment. Some of the unpaid bills dated back to 2013.
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