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Bleeding After Sex Could Be an Early Sign of Cervical Cancer

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Bleeding After Sex Could Be an Early Sign of Cervical Cancer – Professor Isaac Adewole

According to Professor Isaac Adewole, a former health minister and co-founder of the African Cancer Coalition, it is crucial to recognize that persistent bleeding, particularly during or immediately after sexual intercourse, may indicate the presence of cervical cancer.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday, Prof. Adewole emphasized that cervical cancer can be prevented and effectively treated if detected early.

Cervical cancer remains the second most prevalent cancer among women in Nigeria and the fourth most common worldwide, as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This form of cancer predominantly affects women between the ages of 15 and 44, claiming the lives of 7,900 Nigerian women annually out of the reported 12,000 cases.

Prof. Adewole revealed, “The main challenge in Nigeria, as well as in many developing countries across Africa, is the lack of awareness surrounding cervical cancer. As a result, when women finally seek medical attention, they are usually in the advanced stages of the disease.”

He further explained that the early symptoms, such as bleeding during or after sexual intercourse, often go unnoticed by women. Instead of seeking proper medical care, some women mistakenly attribute the bleeding to their partners, assuming it is caused by trauma or injury.

“Unfortunately, when women distance themselves from their partners, the bleeding stops, but the disease continues to progress silently,” Prof. Adewole cautioned. “By the time they experience a resurgence of symptoms, the cancer has already advanced significantly.”

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As a Professor at the University of Ibadan and Northwestern University, Prof. Adewole highlighted the distressing pattern of women seeking care from multiple healthcare providers and traditional healing centers. Tragically, by the time these women eventually reach a teaching hospital or a specialized private facility, the cancer has progressed beyond curable stages.

Shedding light on this issue, Prof. Adewole stated that approximately 80% of cervical cancer cases he encounters are already in advanced stages. He also noted that many healthcare practitioners fail to recognize these early signs and stages of the disease.

To ensure better outcomes, Prof. Adewole emphasized the need for a shift from late or absent presentations to early detection. He referenced the WHO’s list of early-stage cervical cancer symptoms, which include irregular blood spotting or light bleeding between periods in women of reproductive age, postmenopausal spotting or bleeding, bleeding after sexual intercourse, and increased vaginal discharge, sometimes accompanied by a foul odor.

The primary cause of cervical cancer, as stated by the WHO, is the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), with types 16 and 18 responsible for nearly 50% of high-grade cervical pre-cancers. HPV is primarily transmitted through sexual contact, and individuals typically contract the virus shortly after becoming sexually active.

By raising awareness about the early signs of cervical cancer and encouraging regular screenings and HPV vaccinations, we can work towards the prevention and timely treatment of this potentially fatal disease.

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