05 SEPTEMBER 2021
KWAZULU-Natal Health MEC Ms Nomagugu Simelane says the 16 brand new cervical cancer-detecting machines that were unveiled recently should not be for decorative purposes, but must be used to help women beat this deadly form of cancer, which is treatable when detected early.
Shocking statistics reveal that 1 in 40 South African women develop cervical cancer, and that up to 3500 women die from this disease each year.
Cervical cancer, which is the second most common after breast cancer, is caused by the sexually-transmitted Human Papilloma Virus, which results from women starting too early to engage in sexual intercourse.
Speaking at Hluhluwe Clinic on Friday, MEC Simelane revealed that the distribution of these machines was part of a Departmental programme to offset the effects of COVID-19 and related national lockdowns, which had resulted in fewer patients coming forward to get screened and tested for ailments such as HIV and TB, cancer, as well as other Non-Communicable Diseases.
The function of the Large Loop Excision of the Transformational Zone (LLETZ) machines is to conduct a small surgical procedure on the woman's cervix. Using electrical current, the LLETZ procedure removes that part of the cervix where the cells are becoming abnormal (dysplastic), which might otherwise develop into cancer.
These abnormal cells can be detected by a pap smear, which is strongly recommended for women aged 30 and above. Women who are HIV negative need to undergo a pap smear once every 10 years, whereas those who are HIV positive need to have it done once every three years.
An important feature of cancer of the cervix is that the disease has a long pre-cancer phase, which lasts for several years. This provides an opportunity to detect it (by pap smear) and then to treat it with the LLETZ procedure before it progresses to cancer.
MEC Simelane urged all the hospitals who are receiving these brand new machines to ensure that they are put to good use.
"These machines are going to make a big difference in whether we are able to pick up, right at the beginning whether, a woman is susceptible to cervical cancer; and if she is, we are able to remove the cells that need to be removed from the cervix."
"We are very excited. I’m happy that most of our facilities will be getting these machines. In all the facilities that are getting these machines, we're expecting numbers. We will be checking after six months how these hospitals have been using these machines, and we want to see progress."
"These machines are so revolutionary in treating cervical cancer, and the fact that we are now expanding this service is something that we should be commended. The fact that all of [these hospital representatives] are here, and are excited, tells me that we are all going to be really using these machines in the deep rural areas where we need them the most."
The new machines have been sent to the following hospitals and Community Health Centres:
St Mary's, Port Shepstone, St Apollinaris, EG & Usher, Dundee, Pomeroy CHC, Appelsbosch, Northdene, Grey's, Mseleni, Othobothini CHC, Ceza, UMphumulo, Ekhombe, Mbongolwane, and Queen Nandi.
This now brings to 47 the number of health facilities that now have LLETZ machines.
ENDS Issued by the KZN Department of Health
This page last edited on
06 September, 2021
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