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Chennai Port Trust to Spread Awareness on Cervical Cancer

The Times of India
17 March 2009
Chennai, India

The Chennai Port Trust will hold a two–day international seminar on cervical cancer from March 21 on the port premises. The decision comes in the wake of surveys conducted by the Port Trust that found awareness about cervical cancer was low though 12% of people screened by the Port Trust Hospital tested positive for the disease.

“The level of awareness among women is very low, and very few come forward for examinations voluntarily,” said , Dr R Rajkumar, principal investigator, International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Cervical cancer ranks first among the types of cancer that affect women, and despite being easily diagnosable, affects more women in India as compred to their counterparts in the West, say doctors. According to a WHO report, (updated in 2007), 365.71 million women below 15 years and above are at the risk of developing cervical cancer. The report further states that of the 132 082 cases diagnosed, 74,118 turn fatal.

From November 2006, the Chennai Port Trust has been conducting colposcopy tests on female employees and families.The 15– minute test is a fool proof method of detection, says Dr Rajkumar. “The lesion is identified, demarcated and then cryotherapy is used to destroy the pre–cancer cells. The success rate is about 86 %” he added. Nearly 12 % of those tested at the Chennai Port Trust hospital have been found to be affected by cervical cancer, and all have been treated for the same.

“Cervical cancer is the most common cancer affecting women, and is easily diagnosable, unlike ovarian or lung cancer which are very hard to detect,” said Dr T Raja, medical oncologist, Apollo Speciality hospital. “It is prevalent in both rural and urban areas,” he added. Research conducted a few years ago by Christian Fellowship Community health centre at Ambikkai in Dindigul found that 10 % of the respondents tested positive. Similar findings in Barshi in Maharashtra showed that 12 % were in a pre–cancer condition.

The Port is holding a two–day international seminar on cervical cancer from March 21, and over a 100 delegates are expected to participate.

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