February 2, 2017 Editor

It has been ten years since my last smear.

What is the difference between a Catholic priest and a Women’s Health practitioner? No, it isn’t a joke. There is no screamingly funny answer. But it is a question I ask, as I sit in the confessional booth that is my desk, listening to a patient who uncomfortably divulges how long it has been since her last Pap smear. Whether she expects absolution or penance, I have no idea! The main thing, I always stress, is that she is here now, and, at that moment in time, that…

February 2, 2017 Editor

We have all heard about the HPV vaccination and how it can save lives but how exactly does it work? Specialist gynaecologist, Dr Pam Pillay, expounds on this in light of January being Cervical Cancer Awareness Month.

Cervical cancer remains the most common gynaecological malignancy in women, and is associated with the highest cancer-related mortality rate. Its prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa remains high due to inadequate screening, lack of education, low compliance amongst women, and health inequity. Cervical cancer and pre-cancer is caused primarily by the human papilloma virus…

January 27, 2017 Editor

0nly 10-15% of cancers can be attributed to an inherited genetic abnormality. Epigenetics is where we should be focusing our attention to prevent the rest of the cancers we diagnose.

So what is Epigenetics?  “The study of changes in organisms caused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself. Epigenetics has transformed the way we think about genomes.” We have no control over the genes we are born with (yet!), but we can make choices that can modify “bad genes or SNP’s” (Single Nucleotide Polypeptides). In a patient…

July 1, 2015 Editor

Cervical cancer develops in the cervix – the low, narrow mouth of the uterus (womb) that opens into the vagina. The Cervix protects your uterus. Cervical cancer is caused by a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV), which is transmitted primarily through sexual activity. Fast Facts Up to 80% of sexually active women will acquire an HPV infection at some point in their lives. Of these infections up to 38.6% will be from Oncogenic HPV types (cancer causing). Persistent infection with oncogenic HPV types may lead to cervical cancer. Globally 70% of all cervical cancer is caused by HPV 18 and…