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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New cervical cancer test offers hope for Cambodian women

New cervical cancer test offers hope for Cambodian women

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5-story-1.jpg

The cheap prodecure developed for use in poor countries would help

early detection of the disease if implemented in the Kingdom, health

officials say

AFP

Nearly a quarter of the country’s women will develop cervical cancer.

A NEW test for cervical cancer developed for use in poor countries has been lauded by health officials, as nearly a quarter of the country's female population is afflicted by the disease.

Produced by the Dutch company QIAGEN, the test does not require electricity or running water and can be used by nonmedical staff.

Unlike other tests that require sophisticated laboratories and a long waiting time for results, this test can indicate results within two hours, minimising multiple costly doctors' visits.

According to researchers, the test has already produced highly accurate results in trials amongst women in rural China.

"It will be very good for Cambodian women if we can get new [cervical cancer] testing," said Chan Vanna, of the Department of Women's Disease and Birth Spacing at the Reproductive Health Association of Cambodia (RHAC).

"It would be so much better than the test we do today," Chan Vanna said.

Most Cambodian woman receive no routine testing for cervical cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in the Kingdom, health officials say.

If a cheap test

was available in

cambodia it would

be wonderful.

While many women live in areas where routine testing is not available, another primary reason for those in more urban areas is cost.

According to the SOS International Clinic, pap smear tests conducted in Cambodia are usually sent to Singapore to be analysed.

A price tag of around US$110, on top of doctor's fees, means the procedure is out of reach for many.

Veng Thai, Phnom Penh's municipal health director, said the test is a promising development against the disease.  

"I would certainly welcome the cervical cancer test if it were made available in Cambodia," he said earlier this week.

"So many women who do not have the money to go to Thailand or Vietnam develop  cervical cancer, and if a cheap test were available in Cambodia, it would be wonderful," he said.

High incident rate

According to Dr Eav Sokha, head of the Department of Oncology at the Cambodian-Russian Friendship Hospital, 24 percent of Cambodian women develop cervical cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common form of cancer in the country. The second most prevalent is breast cancer.

Worldwide, more than 270,000 women die from cervical cancer and 493,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, some 80 percent of them in developing countries, the World Health Organisation says.

Routine screening in developed countries has helped cut mortality from the disease in advanced economies by between 50 and 80 percent.

Chan Vanna said the incident rate in Cambodia was so high because of factors specific to the Kingdom, such as women marrying at a young age and the prevalence of congenital disease.

A lack of sanitation also plays a large role. 

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP

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