The KwaZulu-Natal Health Department says it will be targeting the 80% of women in the province who might be at risk for cervical cancer.

KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo has handed over 15 machines which will help detect, prevent and manage cervical cancer. They will be distributed mostly to hospitals in rural areas.

Dhlomo says at least 3000 women die each year of cervical cancer countrywide.

“We think that it will help us greatly because we have had a serious problem of cancer. But we will deal with this 80%. The lot of noise that we have heard about is the 20% of women with very advanced cancer. We will take off with the machines which are already there at Addington, Grey’s hospitals and Albert Luthuli hospital.”

Head of the Clinical Department in Gynaecology Niel Moran has called on women to go for cancer screenings and pap-smears.

Moran says cervical and breast cancer can be prevented, but many women die due to the lack of knowledge.

“There is a pre-cancerous phase which lasts for years which gives us an opportunity to prevent the disease. If we can identify the women of this pre-cancerous cells before they actually become cancer then we have an opportunity to treat that and prevent cancer from happening all together. Treatment of cancer is very complicated and difficult whereas the prevention by removing these abnormal cells is simple.”