Vietnam reports more than 5,000 fresh cases of cervical cancer per year, with each day at least six women succumbing to the fatal disease, while every two minutes one person is dying from the disease across the globe.
These figures were revealed at a two-day seminar that was held in Nha Trang in the south-central province of Khanh Hoa from May 25-26, organised by the Vietnam Association of Preventive Medicine and Merck Sharp and Dohme in Vietnam.
The seminar met to discuss information relating to safe vaccination and HPV vaccine with the participation of leading medical officials from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology in Hanoi, the Pasteur Institute of Ho Chi Minh City, Tu Du and Hung Vuong Maternity Hospitals and Tumor Hospitals and the Medicine University in Ho Chi Minh City.
Tu Du Hospital discovered over 560 fresh cases of cervical cancer last year. Medical experts realized that infection of the cervix with human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Not all women with HPV infection, however, will develop cervical cancer. Women who do not regularly have a Pap smear test to detect HPV or abnormal cells in the cervix are at increased risk of cervical cancer.
Nguyen Tran Hien, director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, said that at least 80 per cent of Vietnamese women are infected with HPV during their lifetime. Besides preventive education to raise public awareness of the disease, control strategy and early diagnosis, vaccine injections are all very effective in fighting the disease.
The institute proposed to insert vaccines against cervical cancer into the national programme on immunisation so that every woman of all class and age can benefit. However, to relieve the state budget, it is necessary to encourage every sector to participate in the programme, even including the health insurance sector.