Cape Town - Close to three decades of research on cervical cancer was recently recognised when University of Cape Town Professor Lynette Denny received the Order of the Baobab in Silver.
Denny, a senior specialist in the gynaecological oncology in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at the University of Cape Town (UCT) has been focused on finding ways and means of preventing cervical cancer that are safe, feasible, effective and affordable.
With her colleagues, they have been in this field since 1995, doing meticulous research studies to provide the government and policy makers with scientifically sound evidence.
“HPV was found to be the principal cause of cervical cancer in the 1980s. Since then, many tests and methods have been developed. They have pioneered a process called Screen and Treat, where women are tested for the presence of cancer associated HPV infection and, if positive, treatment is provided at the same visit.
“The many advantages to this approach include enabling us to reach more women and reduce the number of clinic visits, and therefore costs to the patients.”
“What means most to me is that the award comes from my country and honours ‘distinguished service’ – I think being of service to all of humanity and our earth is critical for us to change the many bad things that are happening in the world today.
“My life has been dedicated to service through the practice of medicine and I feel it is a great privilege. I hope this award will inspire everyone, especially the younger generations to value service very highly.”
Denny attributes working in a severely under-resourced area and working for disempowered and oppressed women as one of the major setbacks she encountered.
“The HIV epidemic diverted funding and resources away from cervical cancer prevention as has the Covid-19 pandemic. However, my team and I have remained dedicated and continued our work despite sometimes hostile environment,” says Denny.