In-house professional doctors of the Vodafone Healthline Programme have cautioned that while oral sex does not directly cause oral cancer, recent studies have shown that it predisposes one to it – especially when one is engaged in such an activity with multiple sex partners, hence the need to take caution and be responsible.
Dr. Yalley Kwekuma, General Practitioner, on his part stated that cancer is caused by multiple factors; and conditions which may cause one person to develop cancer are different from another based on one’s immune system and ability of the body to repair damage.
However, even though it is rare for oral sex to be the cause, there has been some causal link between oral cancer and oral sex. “Initially, almost all the oral cancers have risk factors – being alcoholism and smoking among others; but in recent times the Human papillomavirus (HPV), known commonly as the cause of cervical cancer, has been identified to be increasing in patients with oral cancer.
“Therefore, smoking and excessive drinking are strong causative factors of oral cancer; but oral sex can also predispose someone to oral cancer due to the HPV being identified now,” he said.
He therefore urged the public, especially the youth, to be watchful of their sexual lifestyle and abstain from multiple sexual partners at a time.
Dr. Aba Folson, a Cardiologist, seconded the position of her colleague and added that the issue of multiple sexual partners is a very risky one that predisposes people to several sexually transmitted infections (STIs); and so with the increase in non-traditional sexual lifestyles like oral sex, the different viruses can move from the sexual organs to other parts of the body like the mouth and cause other serious issues.
Healthline Rescues 52-Year-Old Victoria Ekeke
In this sixth edition of season ten, the Healthline team were in Pigfarm-Accra to rescue a 52-year-old lady, Victoria Ekeke, who has been suffering from a consistent abdominal complication for the past two years; a condition that has made it impossible for her to sleep and turned her prayers into a plea for God to take her life.
Telling her own story, she said: “Last two years in November, I felt a sharp pain in my lower abdomen and later realised that I had menstruated. I was confused because I thought I was in my menopause and so I went to the hospital. The doctor asked that I take a scan, and the scan revealed I had a tumor in my womb that required a surgical operation”.
According to her sister, Catherine Mensah, after surgery to remove the tumor was performed, she bled continuously for six months: and so the sister brought her to Accra for them to stay together, but that alone wasn’t a solution. This family has barely slept at night over the past two years due to the severe pain and screaming at night.
Trying to imagine what could be a possible cause of her situation, Madam Victoria indicated that when she got married it was difficult for her to conceive – which put a wedge between her and her partner. So she tried different medications for a solution, but it didn’t work out…leading to a divorce. She suspects those concoctions could be the cause.
Her sister indicated that she has used all her life-savings to cater for Victoria, but to no avail as the pain keep increasing and the cost of treatment also keeps rising. So, she kept asking friends and people around if they could connect her to any NGO or benevolent organisation that could help them with funding support for treatment – until someone advised her to go to the Vodafone office and tell them her challenge, so she went to plead for assistance and the Vodafone Healthline offered to help.
The two sisters were overwhelmed with joy and expressed their heartfelt gratitude to Vodafone for the immense help, asking God to bless them and expand their productivity beyond boundaries so they can continue to help others.
Dr. Sylvester Mensah, a Medical Officer, providing health education on the topic ‘sickle-cell’ explained it is a generic blood condition that is inherited from parents at birth. He went further to indicate that the blood contains cells called red blood cells and white blood cells, and the red blood cells contain haemoglobin in two types – ‘A’ and ‘X’. The A is normal and the X is abnormal, therefore anybody with an ‘X’ is described as a carrier and is likely to give birth to someone with sickle-cell disorder.
He urged anyone entering into a relationship to, first of all, try to find out the blood group and other genotypes of the partner.
He debunked claims that a person with sickle-cell can only live for five years, emphasising that with the advent of medical technology and innovative treatment people with the condition can live as long as normal.
He outlined current trends in managing the condition: such as neonatal screening, genetic counselling, pain management, psychosocial management, transfusions, haemopoietic, cell transplantation and novel drugs.
In addition, he stated that with current management practices, neonatal screening – which is checking the child’s condition at birth – gives a timely diagnosis; and parental education and comprehensive care decreases morbidity and mortality.
Drinking more water, good personal hygiene practices, control of extreme emotions or stress, and taking prescribed drugs can help a sickle-cell patient live longer and healthier. He also advised anyone who experiences such a sickle-cell condition to seek medical advice.
Also, Fitness Coach Afia Berfi demonstrated easy but effective exercises that can help one burn fat in the upper region of the back.
In the ‘Today in Medicine’ segment, Dr. Yalley provided insight into how medical education started in Ghana – touting the critical role pioneers such as Sir Frederick Gordon Guggisberg played in 1919 to establish the Korle-Bu Hospital.