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Home News and Update Year 2010 City Shows Nation The Way With Survey For Cervical Cancer

City Shows Nation The Way With Survey For Cervical Cancer

Indian Express
21 November 2010
By Pritha Chatterjee

City Anchor Plan To Replicate Screening Project
At one of the screening centresAt one of the screening centres
A PILOT project on screening women for cervical cancer in Mumbai may provide the backbone for a proposed similar programme across the nation.

The pilot project, under the Indian Council of Medical Research, began with the screening of women in the Bail Bazaar and Mohili Village health posts in Kurla and Ghatkopar respectively. A newer study will now focus on two maternity hospitals, Babasaheb Ambedkar Maternity Hospital in Vikhroli and Savitribai Phule Maternity Hospital in Bhandup.

"Officers at the National Cancer Control Programme have discussed the possibility of a nationwide survey along the same lines. We are trying to evaluate the cost effectiveness," said Dr V M Katoch, secretary for the Department of Health Research & director general of ICMR.

Under the pilot project, conducted by ICMR’s Mumbai–based National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (NIRRH), free Pap smear screening camps were conducted once a month for women attending the health posts.

Equipment was provided and staff trained by NIRRH. Nurses were trained to collect smears; laboratory staff at BMC’s Rajawadi Hospital were trained to process the smears and report the results after consulting NRRH scientist Dr Bapurao Mali.

Dr Mali said they began with a door–to–door awareness programme; few women went for the screening programme initially but the number later picked up.

Interestingly, 8.8 per cent of the women examined at Bail Bazaar and 7.7 per cent of those in Mohili village have so far tested positive for HPV –an established cause of cervi cal cancer. Multiple infections of bacterial vaginitis or fungal infections were found in 9.2 per cent of those tested in Bail Bazaar and 7.5 per cent of those in Mohili village.

Dr Mali said, "We approached the BMC to initiate the programme in its maternity homes, as they provide more opportunity for women in early detection of cervical cancer and sexually transmitted infections."

Four women have been diagnosed for carcinoma, or advanced malignancy, and they are being treated at the state–run Cama and Albless Hospital’s Gynaecological Oncology Department. Six women have been referred after CIN–1 diagnosis, which refers to early stage of cancer. Eight have been diagnosed with the virus in a slightly more advanced stage of cancer known as CIN 2.

"BMC hospitals already have a huge load, and they do not have advanced facilities. So, we chose Cama Hospital after evaluating the resources," Dr Mali said.

The project is headed by Dr Balaiah Donta, senior deputy director of NIRRH, and supported by the Health Ministry.

Dr Usha Saraiya, gynaecological oncologist at Cama and Albless Hospital, said, "The programme is unique because it was supported by the state and the corporation for research... Patients referred to us are being treated free."

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