Prolonged Use of Oral Contraceptives, Predisposes Women to Cervical Cancer, Says Expert

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Pharm. (Dr) Celina Ogah (3rd from left, front row); Dr Oyedun Raphael Adeleye ((4th from left, front row); Lagos ALPs Chairman Pharm. (Dr) Afusat Adesina (middle front row); Dr Aminat  Ahmad (4th from right, front row); Mr Robert Ahigbe, founder, Rovina Diagnostic Services (3rd from left back row) and other executives of Lagos ALPs , in a group photograph, during the cancer awareness creation programme.

A General Practitioner and CEO, Deetab Hospital and Maternity Home, Dr Oyedun Raphael Adeleye, has said prolonged use of oral contraceptive pills for at least five years, is a major risk factor for cervical cancer. He also stated that women with more than three children are vulnerable to the deadly disease.

Adeleye, who doubles as the SSA on health matters to the Chairman Ifelodun LCDA, in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government, Lagos State, asserted that cancer is not a death sentence, if patients present early to their caregivers.

The general practitioner made the submission at the weekend during the 2022 Cancer Awareness Programme,  organised by the Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs) Lagos State Chapter, for residents of  Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area. He warned women on long-term usage of oral contraceptives to desist from it and seek other safe methods of family planning from their doctors, saying the estrogen in the pills is the causative factor for cervical cancer.

According to him “Prolonged usage of oral contraceptives for more than five years predisposes women to cervical cancer, because of the estrogen in it. There are other safe methods to use aside tablets, as patients can discuss best methods for them with their doctors.

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“Other risk factors for cervical cancer are immunodepression, tobacco smoking, promiscuity, HPV, family history, previous cancer, and others. While the signs of cervical cancer are vaginal bleeding- in between period, painful sex, swollen legs, weight loss and among others”.

He disclosed that World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends vaccination for girls ages 9 to 14, and for women who haven’t developed the condition, in order to prevent surge in cervical cancer. But for elder women, regular cervical cancer screening was recommended.

A cross section of participants at programme.

The cancer awareness programme also featured a panel discussion, where experts entertained questions from participants on breast cancer and cervical cancer. The panelists were Prof. Olukemi Odukoya; Pharm. (Dr) Ugo Ogudu; Dr Amina Ahmad ; Dr Adeleye and Mr Robert Ahigbe, founder, Rovina Diagnostic Services.

Speaking on breast cancer, Prof. Odukoya, who shared her true life story with participants on breast cancer, said prognosis of the condition is better these days than never before, as early detection gives better chances of survival to patients than late presentation.

She urged the women to always examine their breast and go for mammography when necessary, as this allows for early detection, which is key in management of the condition. She stressed the need for patients and practitioners to be sincere with cancer cases, as insincerity on both sides will jeopardise the chances of patients’ survival.

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“It is good to prevent cancer as much as possible, but when it comes, you need to begin treatment as early as possible. Trying to hide the ailment will not help, it’s better to cry out as early as you discover the abnormal growth anywhere in your body. Doctors also need to be very sincere with patients concerning cancer, there is no need hiding the facts from patients.  It is better to let them know what is happening which will enhance their cooperation.

“Lifestyle modification is necessary for better cancer management, patients need to eat less carbohydrate, no sugar, less salt, and other things as their doctors will advise”, she stated.

Still on breast cancer, Dr Ahmad enlightened participants on the necessity of mastectomy, when cancer is detected early, saying it is better in order to prevent  cancerous cells from spreading to other parts of the body, which could lead to death.

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Pharm. (Mrs)  Ogudu, in her contribution harped on why it is necessary to prevent cancer causing substances like tobacco, alcohol , and second hand smoking, saying all these are severe risk factors that should be avoided by all means.

Earlier, the Lagos ALPs Chairman Pharm. (Dr) Afusat Adesina and Chairman of the programme, Pharm. (Dr) Celina Ogah, explained motive behind the programme, noting that cancer is a leading cause of death the world over, and October being cancer awareness month, they thought it wise to use it as an opportunity to enlighten and screen Ajeromi Ifelodun LGA women on breast and cervical cancer.

The duo who expressed their delight with the turn out of the women, urged them to make judicious use of the opportunity to learn as much as possible they learn on cancer prevention, and if anyone is detected with a tumor, she should seek medical attention immediately.

Participants at the programme also enjoyed free screening on breast cancer, cervical cancer, blood pressure, blood glucose, HIV, among others.

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