Mpumalanga – A late diagnosis of cervical cancer has urged Mpumalanga mother Phumzile Mlombo to urge other women to check regularly for the disease to ensure early diagnosis and a better chance of survival.
Sifiso Mlombo, her son, is now her fulltime carer.
“My husband passed away two years ago and so I have not been having sex. When I started getting sick I honestly didn’t think much of it other than I was stressed. After a few months passed I started experiencing symptoms like abnormal vaginal bleeding and increased vaginal discharge. But I still didn’t see the point of reporting those symptoms at the clinic,” Mlombo said.
She eventually went to the clinic where a nurse advised her to have a PAP smear test done to check for cervical cancer. But Mlombo was reluctant.
“I wondered how I could have cervical cancer when I was not sexually active,” she said.
Mlombo is HIV positive and refused to take the PAP smear test when she was advised to. Now cancer has developed too far for it to be properly treated.
Sifiso said he was not bothered by negative comments made by other people, and that he was committed to looking after his mother and would never abandon her.
Women diagnosed with cervical cancer will be treated according to the type of cancer she has, how far it has spread, her age and whether or not she still wants to have children. Phumzile will have to undergo a hysterectomy.
Nurse Zanele Zwane said “With an early diagnosed cervical cancer can be prevented, but because there is not enough information about women’s health issues especial in rural communities many don’t take their sickness seriously. Most women believe that only women who are sexually active or HIV positive can have cervical cancer. They usually take a long time to report it and many don’t even do PAP smear test until it is too late.”
“Cancer of the cervix is more likely to be treated successfully if is detected early. PAP smear tests are an important part of a woman’s routine healthcare because they can find abnormalities that may lead to cancer of the cervix. These abnormalities can be treated before cancer develops. Cervical cancer can be prevented in women aged between 9 and 26 by vaccinating against HPV,” Zwane explained, encouraging women to have regular PAP smear tests.
Sifiso said he now spends his days ensuring that his mother baths, has clean clothes, clean sheets and proper meals.
“Even with the stigma and discrimination by my friends, I have remained a true, loyal son. I am my mother’s biggest supporter,” he said. – Health-e News.