Anti-cervical cancer jab for girls next year


KOTA KINABALU: Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination for Form Two girls to protect them from cervical cancer will start next year in Sabah, said State Health Director Dr Mohd Yusof  Ibrahim.

Yusof, who was representing Deputy Health Minister Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin at the ‘Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign’ at Le Meridien here yesterday, said cervical cancer is one of the main cancers that are killing women in the State.

“It is not easy to do cervical screening because it is very sensitive issue among our community. Screening that involves private parts is not easy,” he said.

Asking women to open their ‘kain’ (clothing) is the most difficult moment for the Health Department team during the cervical cancer screening, he added.

“HPV vaccination is therefore very important because it will protect younger girls and women who are not exposed to HPV which causes cervical cancer,” said Yusof.

He said with the first cancer hospital in Sabah expected to open next year at Likas, cancer awareness among people in the state, especially from rural areas, could be heightened.

Yusof said there are many cases in Sabah where women only come forward to seek treatment after the third stage.

Most of them are from rural areas and poor, he said, adding that it is not easy for women in the rural areas to spend around RM100 for transportation and other things each time they come to the city for examination, which only takes a few minutes.

They spend their entire month’s income for only one of the procedures to detect any cancer, he said.

According to Yusof, lack of education and poverty are the main obstacles for Sabahan women in the rural areas to make early detection of breast and cervical cancers.