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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

Cervical Cancer Accounts For 26% Of Female Cancers In India, Yet Awareness Remains Low

  • IWB Post
  •  September 14, 2018

In terms of awareness about matters of crucial importance, India, sadly, has still a lot of ‘developing’ to do. Among such issues is the lack of awareness about cervical cancer that remains undiagnosed because a majority of women in India either don’t think they need to see a gynecologist and get routine checks or they do not have access to gynecologists at all.

As per the National Health and Family Survey-4 (NHFS-4), in the age group between 15 and 49, only 25 out of 100 women in urban areas and 20 out of 100 women in rural India, have had gotten their cervix screened at least once in their life. Cervical cancer accounts for 26% of female cancers in India.

The least number of women who have their cervix screened even once is in Karnataka, where only 13.7% of urban women said they underwent screening and only 17% in rural areas.

Kerala stands at 61.7% in urban and 61% in rural areas, in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over 30% women had undergone screening in urban and rural areas. 21.7% in urban and 24.4% in rural areas were screened in Tamil Nadu,

“In Bengaluru alone, we see 600 new cases of cervical cancer every year. The prevalent cases per year range anywhere between 1,500 to 1,800,” said Dr. C Ramesh, the head of department of epidemiology at Bengaluru’s Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology. “The prevalence of cervical cancer is less in urban areas when compared to rural areas.”

In a retrospective analysis of HPV (Human Papillomavirus) testing in cervical cancer screening, it was found that between 2013 and 2017, over 3,000 women were tested for High-Risk HPV infection. And the highest percentage of positive cases of high-risk HPV was found in the 16-30 age group, where more women from Western India (about 10.23%) had high-risk HPV infection,  followed by South India at 9.78 %.

These statistics are proof that it is high-time women ditch their hesitation over visiting a gynecologist. Helping them in this is a Delhi-based group of volunteers, who are working under the banner Haiyya to break taboos and educate young women.

“There is no information in schools or colleges either. We do not read anywhere that it is essential to get cervical screening done. Nor does anyone in the family tell you about it,” said Mrinalini Dayal, Campaign Manager, Haiyya.

“There is still so much stigma about pre-marital sex. Many a time, women we interact with tell us that they have gynecologists advising them not to indulge in sex before marriage and ask them why they need to. ‘Why are you here? Are you married? Why did you engage in sex before getting married?’ These are a few questions that women were being asked at a clinic,” Mrinalini added.

H/T: The News Minute 

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