The government is piloting a screen-and-treat program across seven hospitals and 89 health centres in five districts. The pilot is running until July 2021 and will inform the scale up of cervical cancer care across the country.

The treatment program focuses on women who test positive for HPV, and subsequently test positive for precancerous lesions, through the screening process. Women who test positive have their lesions treated at health centres with thermal ablation or with LEEP at the nearest district hospital depending on the size of the lesion. Those with lesions suspected of being cancerous will be referred for further confirmatory tests and management.

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    Treated with thermal ablation

Thermal ablation

Women with pre-cancerous lesions that are not expanded over a large area of their cervix will receive treatment with thermal ablation at the same facility were screening was completed. The procedure involves using a handheld device diffusing heat to the affected area. All health centers of the country will be able to provide treatment with thermal ablation.

Loop Electrical Excision Procedure (LEEP)

Women with pre-cancerous lesions that have spread over a large area of the cervix, will receive a LEEP procedure at the nearest district hospital. The procedure uses a small electrical wire loop to remove possible pre-cancerous cells from the cervix. 7 district hospitals will be providing treatment with LEEP.

Cancer suspicion treatment options

Cases in which lesions are suspected of being cancerous are referred to one of five hospitals in Rwanda that deliver cancer services for further testing and treatment.

The hospitals that provide cancer care are Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Kigali (CHUK), CHUB Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Butare (CHUB), Rwanda Military Hospital (RMH), King Faisal Hospital (KFH), and Butaro Cancer Centre of Excellence (BCCOE). These hospitals provide treatment including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Multidisciplinary teams of health care providers are tasked with evaluating the patient early in the treatment process and guiding subsequent treatment and follow-up as needed. The team members are responsible for implementing cancer clinical management protocols in accordance with national guidelines.

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Cervical cancer can be prevented by vaccinating girls against HPV and screening and treating women for pre-cancerous lesions.

Rwanda already provides HPV vaccinations to all girls between the ages of 11 and 15.

However, many women born before the immunization program began are not protected and screening rates among this group remains low.

In order to be one of the first countries to eliminate cervical cancer, the government is now piloting
Cervical cancer can be prevented by vaccinating girls against HPV and screening and treating women for pre-cancerous lesions.

Rwanda already provides HPV vaccinations to all girls at the age of 12. The government is now piloting a screen-and-treat program at health centres to catch lesions before they become cancerous.

Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in Rwanda. It is caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus or HPV. We can prevent cervical cancer with simple tools such as the HPV vaccine and screening the cervix for disease.

HPV is short for human papillomavirus. HPV causes 99% of cervical cancers.

HPV is spread both sexually and no-sexually, though sexual transmission is the most common route.

Most HPV infections clear up on their own and people don’t even know they have it.

However, certain strains of HPV can cause lesions on the cervix, some of which will turn cancerous if not quickly identified and treated.