Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cervical cancer in Cambodia, prevention, diagnosis and treatment

Cervical cancer in Cambodia, prevention, diagnosis and treatment

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Dr Preap Ley is the surgical director at Sihanouk Hospital Centre of HOPE. Heng Chivoan

Cervical cancer in Cambodia, prevention, diagnosis and treatment

Worldwide, 500,000 women suffer from cervical cancer each year, 80 per cent of them from developing countries. At least 200,000 of these women will die, and 75 per cent of those deaths will be due to those women not receiving any healthcare at all for their cancer.

With Cambodia experiencing rapid economic growth, living standards are improving and Cambodians are enjoying higher incomes and increased opportunities. However, less attention is being paid to healthcare, and few Cambodians are spending money for preventative services and health check-ups. Dr Preap Ley, Surgical Director at Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE (SHCH), is hoping to change that.

SHCH receives over 45,000 patients each year, and by December 2018, SHCH has provided healthcare services to more than 1.4 million people.

Dr Ley is quick to say that the majority of patients treated at SHCH are in a very late stage of illness. This means that their chance of survival is lower, and the costs for treatment are higher. With early detection and treatment, patients are more likely to recover and go on to live long, healthy lives.

This is especially true of cervical cancer, says Dr Ley, which is a top killer of Cambodian women, but is easily treatable when found in early stages, and in many cases is even preventable with a vaccination.

“Based on the patients we see at SHCH, the number of cervical cancer cases in Cambodia is increasing. If cervical cancer is in the first stage, we can do a fairly simple operation to remove it, and the chance for survival is high,” Dr Ley shared.

“However, most ... patients come in seeking treatment or screening far too late, when the cancer is already in third or fourth stage."

For those patients, my heart breaks. Treatment options are limited, and include referral for chemotherapy at Khmer Soviet Friendship Hospital.”

“Cervical cancer is often caused by HPV (human papilloma virus), a sexually transmitted infection,” Dr Ley explained. Those at highest risk of contracting HPV and developing cervical cancer are sexually active women ages 20 – 30.

Dr Ley urges all women to get regular cervical screening every three years during this age range, so that any cervical cancer can be detected as early as possible.

And the best thing to do in order to prevent cervical cancer? Children aged nine to 12 years should receive the HPV vaccination.

“SHCH works to ensure that all Cambodians have access to quality healthcare,” Dr Ley concluded. “We cannot stress enough how important it is for our people to take care of their health. Get regular screening, get early treatment, and live a long life for your family.”

The SHCH was founded in 1996 with a mission to provide free, high-quality medical care to the poor and disadvantaged of Cambodia, while training the next generation of Cambodian health professionals.

Higher-income patients pay for selected healthcare services like lab tests and non-donated medications, and are only required to and are only required to pay what they can afford.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials