At the press conference held on 21 November 2018 at the Institute of Public Health, were presented results of screening of cervical cancer in the Republic of Macedonia, as well as data on morbidity and mortality from this disease in Macedonia and the world.
By informing the public, with the support of the mass media, the goal is to raise awareness among women about regular preventive examinations and early detection of the first symptoms of cervical cancer, which will reduce the disease and mortality of this type of malignant disease.
The American Cancer Society has published a list of risk factors for cervical cancer:
- human papillomavirus (HPV) infection,
- a large number of sexual partners and non-use of a condom
- HIV infection
- Chlamydia infection
- stress and stress related disorders
- hormonal contraceptives
- multiple pregnancies
- a family history of cervical cancer.
Worldwide, cervical cancer participates with 3.2% in the total number of new cancer cases, as well as in the number of cancer deaths.
In the Republic of Macedonia, in women, the most common cancer (newly discovered cases) is breast cancer, followed by cancer of the uterus, colon cancer, lungs and stomach.
The free PAP test was first introduced in 2007. Pilot screening for cervical cancer detection was conducted in 4 municipalities in the period 2009-2011. Since 2012, organized cervical cancer screening has started in women aged 24-60. The Government of the Republic of Macedonia adopted the Program for Early Detection of Malignant Diseases that started from 01.04.2012.
Starting from 2012 to the present there is a positive trend in the number of women covered by screening. The justification of the implementation of this program is confirmed by the fact that cancer cases are detected every year in women who did not have any signs of the disease. For example, during the period from January to September 2018, 8 cases of cervical cancer were detected.
Cellular abnormalities are detected by screening through the PAP test. Of the 31630 PAP tests made in the January-September 2018 period, cellular abnormalities were detected in 2946, representing 9.3%. The most common is CIN 1 and HPV.
In 2017, the lowest number of people who died of cervical cancer was observed compared to the last 10 years with a total of 30 deaths.
Through organized screening, the trend of reducing the incidence and mortality of women from cervical cancer in the Republic of Macedonia is expected to continue, which is the main goal of this Program.
Therefore, we appeal:
- young people to care for their health, especially sexual health by not having often many partners, practicing secure sexual intercourse with compulsory use of protection (eg condoms), later starting sexual relations, etc.
- women and especially women from vulnerable groups to make regular controls at a gynecologist,
- some of the PAP tests that follow the preventive program are free for certain age groups.
This year, free PAP testing is for women aged 24-35 years, as well as women aged 36-60 years. who did not make a PAP test in 2017.
The next year, free PAP testing according to the Program for Early Detection of Malignant Diseases in the Republic of Macedonia for 2019 will be done for women aged 36-48 years, with priority for women from vulnerable groups, but also for those aged 24-35 who did not PAP test this year.