Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa
Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer (second to breast cancer) to affect women in South Africa. The most common cancer to affect black women - 31 per cent of all cancers - it is also preventable and treatable. It is associated with the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), of which the most prevalent strains are 16 and 18. Cervical cancer also appears to be an opportunistic infection among those living with HIV as it links to a weakened immune system. In South Africa a woman's risk of developing cervical cancer is one in 26. Each year 6 700 women develop cervical cancer while 3 700 die from the disease annually in South Africa.
Large, Randomized Study Confirms HPV Testing Is More Sensitive Than Both Conventional and Liquid-Based Pap Test
A study of more than 33,000 women published in the June issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that testing for high-risk types of the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a significantly more sensitive tool for cervical cancer screening than either conventional or liquid-based cytology (Pap testing), announced Digene Corp. (NASDAQ: DIGE).
The Medicines Control Council has been urged to fast-track approval of Gardasil, the first vaccine against cervical cancer. The appeal came from the head of the South African subsidiary of Merck, the pharmaceutical company which late last year announced research results that pointed to the astonishing efficacy of the vaccine.
CHICAGO (AP) Low-income American women and women in developing countries who are tested for cervical cancer could benefit from faster, more aggressive treatment, two studies suggest.
Columbia-led study of nearly 7,000 women overcomes traditional barriers to more expensive, cumbersome pap tests for highly preventable & treatable cancer.
A local biotechnology company is the first to offer women a do-it-yourself home test that can detect cervical cancer before it starts and is more accurate than the Pap smear. Studies have shown that 70%-95% of SA women do not go for regular Pap smears and that most would prefer to self-sample in their own homes. It was this that led to the development of Sen-C-Test by a group of Pretoria-based microbiologists. Early screening for cervical cancer is vital since it is the most common cancer found in women from developing countries: one in 41 SA women is likely to develop the disease. Cervical cancer is the only cancer to be almost exclusively caused by a virus - the human papilloma virus (HPV) - a sexually transmitted disease present in 99,8% of cervical cancer cases. Unlike the Pap smear, which is a reactive test that looks for abnormal cells that are already in cancerous or pre-cancerous stages, the Sen-C-Test is a proactive test for the presence of high-risk strains of the HP virus. Studies show that 15%-20% of Pap smears produce false negatives in that they fail to detect cell abnormalities. The HPV test misses the presence of the virus in only 2% of cases. Jonathan Keytel, operations director for Glue Health, the company that developed Sen-C-Test, said that although a positive HPV test did not mean that a woman would definitely develop cervical cancer, it did determine who was at high risk and was an indicator that further testing was necessary to detect cervical changes. Testing directly for HPV represented an improvement, not a replacement for the Pap smear, and one that would enable better clinical decisions and optimal treatment. The test is made up of two parts: the self-sampling test kit and a laboratory test which uses imported DNA detection technology. Neither is new. Glue Health's innovation is in bringing two tried and tested technologies together in this unique application. Because it uses self-sampling technology, the Sen-C-Test couldresult in many more women being screened, initiating treatment earlier andb eating the cancer. But the test is expensive at R30 for the home test kitand R358,50 for the laboratory test. The high cost is a factor of the imported DNA detection technology used. The company has patented its application of the technology and aims to begin marketing it internationally next year. It is marketed and distributed locally by Aspen Pharmacare. (Source: The Financial Mail, 11 April, 2003).
Disturbing findings have emerged from a major study into cervical cancer in Durban, with 65% of one group of women polled having no knowledge about this form of cancer or about pap smears. The study, conducted at the city's King Edward Hospital by the Pregnancy Hypertension Unit of the Medical Research Council, found that the majority of women questioned had no knowledge, very limited knowledge or only vague knowledge about cervical cancer. Unit director Professor Jack Moodley said on Sunday that it was important to promote screening programmes for cervical cancer and to educate the public about the availability of pap smears. He said cervical cancer was now one of the most common forms of cancer in South African women. Moodley said that of those respondents who did have some knowledge and information about cervical cancer and pap smears, 87% did not think it was important to undergo cervical screenings. Moodley said the incidence of cervical cancer in South Africa was about 30 in 100 000 women. Mortality was high because the majority of patients were already at an advanced stage of the disease before they came to the clinic or hospital. (Source: Daily News, 4 November 2002).