Screening can save Indian women from killer cancerMarch 6th, 2011 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS
Washington, March 6 (IANS) With over 366 million Indian women over 15 at risk for developing cervical cancer, an Indian American specialist says regular pre-cancer screening can prevent this killer disease.
“Cervical cancer is the most common cancer afflicting women in India and almost 73,000 women die from the disease each year,” says Connecticut based Neena Singh, medical director for Quest Diagnostics, the largest pathology laboratory in the world.
“Of the estimated 530,000 cervical cancer cases globally per year, India contributes over 134,000 cases, representing more than one-fourth of the world’s cervical cancer burden,” Dr Singh told IANS in an interview ahead of the International Women’s Day March 8.
If the situation remains unaddressed, the projected number of new cervical cancer cases in 2025 is estimated at almost 204,000 and the projected number of cervical cancer deaths is estimated at over 115,000, she said.
India’s age-standardised mortality rate for cervical cancer is 15.2 percent, while the age adjusted rate in the United States is only 1.7 percent, Singh said.
To increase awareness about cervical cancer among illiterate Indian women in remote villages, Singh suggests using popular television dramas as a highly effective means of conveying information about the disease.
As experience in other countries has shown the incidence of cervical cancer can be significantly reduced through public education campaigns covering from how it is contracted to how it can be prevented.
Studies in India have shown that improved awareness among predominantly illiterate women through the efforts of health workers results in an increase in the number of women presenting with early disease, Singh said.
Such screening is all the more necessary, she said as there are generally no symptoms in women with early cervical cancers and pre-cancers.
Symptoms occur once the disease becomes invasive and grows into nearby tissue. When this happens, women may develop abnormal vaginal bleeding, bloody discharge from the vagina and pain during sexual intercourse.
Ignoring symptoms allows the cancer to progress to a more advanced stage and lowers the chance of survival, Singh said noting in India, over the last three decades there has been no reduction in the stage of disease at presentation.
Although infection with a high-risk HPV (Human papillomavirus) type is the starting point, the development of cervical cancer takes many years, she says.
Cervical cancer can be prevented through screening for pre-cancer during this lengthy transition period with prevention strategy optimised to the population at risk.
Although Pap smear screening has been the traditional method used for cervical pre-cancer detection, alternative and novel laboratory methods that diagnose HPV infection are now available, Singh said.
Some of these are of low cost and can be easily performed in rural settings. In a previously unscreened population, a screening programme will detect many current cancers, she said.
In India, Quest Diagnostics has set up a state-of-the-art 65,000 square foot facility in Gurgaon that deploys cutting edge technology, processes and quality standards to ensure it brings global best practices and the latest innovations to patients, Singh said.
A leader in diagnostic testing, with particular emphasis on cancer diagnostics and women’s health, Quest Diagnostics is responsible for 10.5 million of the 55 million Pap smear tests performed annually in the United States.
This experience is reflected in the services of its laboratory in India, Singh said with the lab’s Digital Pathology Consultation Service allowing it to tap into the experience of its US-based medical personnel.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at email@example.com)
- Cervical cancer leading cancer-killer among Indian women - Mar 28, 2012
- Vaccination can prevent cervical cancer deaths: Experts - Aug 07, 2012
- Need to create awareness about cancer of cervix: Doctors - Mar 08, 2012
- Screening for HPV virus can check cervical cancer: study - Apr 02, 2009
- Twin viruses linked to prostate cancer - Aug 03, 2012
- Oral sex, HPV puts non-smoking US men at highest risk for oral cancer - Apr 19, 2011
- Erase HPV, Be Aware! - Mar 20, 2009
- Girls aware of HPV vaccine's benefits: US study - Oct 16, 2009
- Changing lifestyle toughens India's cancer battle (Feb 4 is World Cancer Day) - Feb 03, 2012
- Wake-up call on breast cancer in India (Feature) - Oct 28, 2010
- Cervical cancer eradication possible within next 50yrs, says expert - Sep 25, 2009
- Widely used HIV drug could help prevent cervical cancer - May 04, 2011
- Circumcision Lowers Chances Of HPV Risk In Women, Study Says - Jan 09, 2011
- 'HPV testing should be the primary screening method for cervical cancer' - Apr 28, 2010
- Shot for preventing genital warts works in men - Feb 06, 2011
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