Tuesday, 30 January 2024, 19:09
Andalusian women aged between 25 and 65 will be urged to have cervical cancer screening as part of a new awareness campaign.
It comes as the regional ministry of health strengthens its existing cancer screening programmes (colon and breast) and has initiated the cervical screening campaign. Screening kicked off in Cadiz this month and is scheduled to be rolled out across the region in July.
Screening helps detect abnormal cervical cells at an early stage where they can be treated before they become cancerous. It is a harmless and painless test. Screening reduces cervical cancer incidence and mortality by 70-80%.
Cancer is the first cause of death in men and the second in women in Andalucía and accounts for more than 17,000 deaths annually, with lung cancer being the main cause of death, according to the Junta.
Breast cancer, the most common cancer among Andalusian women, can be detected in early stages, when it has not yet produced symptoms. Early detection allows for less invasive treatment. Currently, more than 70% of women who undergo surgery to remove the tumour have been able to keep their breast.
A screening programme for colon cancer has encouraged a total of 2,319,696 people living in Andalucía to take the test at home. A total of 837,223 people (39.74%) took the test. Of these, 9,724 were told in 2023 to go for a colonoscopy to complete the study, which detected cancer in more than 700 people.
Vaccination against human papilloma virus (HPV) is also part of the prevention measures of the Andalusian Cancer Strategy. In January, 92.8% of girls in Andalucía were vaccinated. From January 2023, HPV vaccination also started in 12-year-old boys, with coverage of the first dose in January 2024 of more than 80% of the 2011 cohort.
Care for children and adolescents
There is now 24-hour assistance by paediatric oncologists from the Virgen del Rocío Hospital in Seville and the Regional Hospital in Malaga for young people suffering from cancer.
A commission has also been set up to evaluate cases eligible to receive proton therapy, a painless form of radiotherapy, which has allowed more than 60 children under the age of 18 to be treated in the past two years, and which will soon be available in the Andalusian public health system (SAS).
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