Humariya Heena ,Sajid Durrani, Isamme AlFayyad , Muhammad Riaz, Rabeena Tabasim, Gazi Parvez, and Amani Abu-Shaheen Research Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Comprehensive Cancer Center, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Department of Statistics, University of Malakand, Chakdara, Lower Dir, Pakistan Women’s Specialized Hospital, King Fahad Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Department of Anaesthesia, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, Ajman, UAE respectively authored this research paper on cervical cancer in Saudi Arabia.
In fact this is the most common cancer related deaths and involves many risk factors like sexually transmitted disease, reproductive as well as sexual factors, such as multiple sexual partners, early age intercourse, early delivery, oral contraceptives, smoking, abnormal vaginal discharge, etc. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and are therefore largely avoidable.
Over the past many years, incidence of cervical cancer has reduced, mainly due to more awareness of the disease and importance of screening and prevention programmes followed in most developed countries. Most importantly, development of the HPV vaccine significantly reduced the number of cases.
Three types of tests are presently available:
1. HPV test.
2. PAP test.
3. Unaided visual checkup with acetic acid.
Since there is a relation between HPV infection and cervical cancer, preventive vaccination is the key to control this disease.
Accordingly two vaccines were approved for preventive use for females between ages of 11 and 26 years. As is well demonstrated screening helps in the early detection and prevention of cervical cancer and due to lack of awareness of screening, the patients land up at a late stage of the disease which becomes very costly for the patients as well.
Hence it is very important that healthcare workers are trained to educate and motivate ladies to undergo screening for early detection of this disease.
In this study, healthcare workers were divided into three groups:
3. Allied healthcare workers, and were screened with a questionnaire to evaluate their knowledge of cervical cancer screening.
In this group of healthcare workers, their knowledge regarding the above information of the disease was surprisingly poor, due to hardly any medical education activities regarding screening and prevention of cervical cancer. Also since the incidence of this disease is comparatively low in Saudi Arabia the healthcare workers have less knowledge about this disease or its prevention, such as HPV vaccines, etc. Hence it is very important to give sufficient exposure of this disease to healthcare workers.
Also as a preventable opportunity, healthcare workers should be encouraged to get themselves vaccinated with HPV since it is available free of cost in most government hospitals. A pilot programme was conducted in a Saudi Arabian hospital, and it was found that medical education programmes for healthcare workers improved their knowledge about the preventive and treatment of cancer patients.
Therefore it is clear that if healthcare workers are not properly trained in medical education programmes, then they may not be able to give behavioral changes in themselves, their patients, or even the general population also.
In fact, more such studies should be carried out in other hospitals too, so that healthcare workers are fully trained and ready to transmit this information to such patients.
Summing up, cervical cancer is absolutely preventable and healthcare workers should actively involve themselves in providing the information to the patients and general public alike. Such workers who actively promote giving information to the patients regarding this disease, will certainly help in reducing the incidence of cervical cancer in Saudi Arabia.
Compiled from various international research journals available at google scholar by D. Mukherjee having 38 years of pharmaceutical (Cardiac, Diabetic, Neurology, Pain & Inflammation products) experience with a Swiss Multinational Company NOVARTIS and edited by Dr Sandeep Ahlawat, MBBS