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Home News and Update Year 2009 Cervical Cancer Afflicts 1.30 Lakh Indian Women Annually

Cervical Cancer Afflicts 1.30 Lakh Indian Women Annually

The Hindu
22 April 2009
Kolkata, India

Despite the claim that cervical cancer is preventable, WHO estimates that each year over 1.30 lakh Indian women are diagnosed with it and over 74,000 lose their lives due to it.

“This makes cervical cancer the leading cause of cancer–related deaths in India and represents approximately one–fourth of the world's total cervical cancer cases and mortality,” according to a paper released by Qiagen, the German global market leader in sample technology and CNCI, a state–run Cancer Research Institute here on Tuesday.

Quoting WHO, it said that in India, cervical cancer was the most common type of cancer affecting women. Worldwide, it was the second–most common cancer after breast cancer.

The human papillomavirus, also called HPV, was a common pathogen predominantly affecting women. Approximately 80 per cent of women get one or more types of virus by the age of 50, the paper, released at a press conference to announce strategic partnership in the fight against cervical cancer, said.

It said that there were more than 100 types fo HPV. Of these, about 15 high–risk types were known to cause virtually all cases of cervical cancer. “Two of these types (16 and 18) are believed to cause 70 per cent of these cases (76.7 per cent in Indian women).

The report said that there is evidence that other factors may increase the risk of cervical cancer when combined with HPV, such as smoking and illnesses that reduce the body's ability to fight infections (such as HIV/AIDS).

“While HPV cannot be treated, the abnormal cells caused by the virus that may eventually evolve into cervical cancer, can be treated. This makes early detection essential.”

It said that clinical trial findings from WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and published in 'New England Journal of Medicine' (April 2, 2009) indicated that HPV DNA testing was the most effective way to reduce incidence of cervical cancer compared to either Pap (cytology) testing or visual inspection with ascetic acid (VIA).

The study demonstrated that a single round of HPV testing was associated with a significant reduction in the number of advanced cervical cancers and deaths from the disease.

WHO estimates that only about five per cent of women in the developing world have been screened for the cervical disease in the previous five years compared to 40–50 per cent in the developed world.

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