CAN helps with HPV testing

03 September 2019 | Health

The Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN) has just launched the first national HPV screening programme, which aims to contribute to preventing cervical cancer in Namibia.
The pilot programme in partnership with ROCHE, Maxi Labs and Biodynamics officially kicks off next Monday (9 September) with the free screening of 500 ladies for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). In addition to the ROCHE donation, a further 200 test kits were donated by the DKFZ (German Cancer Research Foundation).
According to CAN’s chief executive Rolf Hansen, HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer. “By mobilizing HPV testing in Namibia, CAN and our partners pave the way for preventative molecular testing of cervical cancer.”
HPV is a sexually transmitted viral infection that the body usually clears itself of, however with recurring infections, additional infection by HIV, or in cases where the immune system of the woman simply cannot fight the high risk viral strain, HPV may lead to the development of a cancerous lesion in the cervix.
“Molecular diagnostic HPV testing can enhance the screening for cervical cancer when used in conjunction with the traditional Pap smear, allowing for a singular, more comprehensive and thorough investigation,” Hansen said.

Higher risk
Hansen said that women who are HPV+ and HIV+ have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer, and while annual Pap smears help detect cell abnormalities, through DNA testing, the potential patient can be managed and treated more effectively before cancer even starts developing.
“The general timeline from HPV infection to possible cervical cancer is 10 years. Thus, quality testing and management of HPV means that we can effectively save more lives more cost-effectively, with less hassle and invasive procedures for women – all while the strain on our national healthcare system is lifted,” Hansen said.
Current cervical screening by Pap test or HPV testing costs more than N$1 200.
CAN has negotiated a market access price for the HPV test kits for the Ministry of Health and Social Services, allowing HPV testing to be rolled out countrywide and is accessible by all.
HPV testing is part of the National Cancer Outreach Programme and the community is encouraged to follow the CAN Facebook page for regular updates on venues and dates, when the CAN and MoHSS teams will be in the various regions and/or towns.
Women of age 35+, and especially women who are HIV+ can contact CAN’s Martha Angolo at 061 237740 or [email protected] for more information on community clinic dates for HPV testing.

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