Addressing the Urgent Need for Cervical Cancer Prevention in India

Addressing the Urgent Need for Cervical Cancer Prevention in India

January is dedicated to raising awareness about cervical cancer, while March 4 marks International HPV Awareness Day.

Global Burden of Cervical Cancer

  • Cervical cancer is a significant global health issue, claiming over 300,000 lives annually.
  • It ranks as the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide.
  • 90% of cervical cancer deaths occur in lower- and middle-income countries.
  • In India, it is the second most common cancer among women, with an estimated 500 million at risk.

Future Projections

  • Without intervention, the number of cases and deaths from cervical cancer is projected to increase substantially.
  • By 2040, India could see a 54% rise in new cases compared to 2020.

HPV Vaccination and Screening

  • HPV vaccination and screening for precancerous lesions are crucial prevention strategies.
  • Introduction of the HPV vaccine in 2008 in India, recommended for inclusion in the Universal Immunization Programme in 2023.
  • WHO’s 90-70-90 strategy aims for high vaccination rates, screening, and treatment by 2030.

Challenges and Solutions

  • Challenges include limited access to HPV vaccination, lack of awareness among physicians, and vaccine hesitancy.
  • Efforts by medical societies like FOGSI and IAP aim to educate healthcare providers and advocate for vaccination.

Physician Engagement

  • Physicians play a crucial role in recommending and advocating for HPV vaccination.
  • FOGSI and IAP are working to create HPV physician champions to promote vaccination and screening.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. What is observed in January every year?
    • A) International HPV Awareness Day
    • B) Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    • C) Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
    • D) World Cancer Day
    Answer: C) Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
  2. What is the main cause of cervical cancer?
    • A) Smoking
    • B) Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection
    • C) Genetic factors
    • D) Poor diet
    Answer: B) Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infection
  3. What is the primary focus of the WHO’s 90-70-90 strategy?
    • A) Improving access to cancer treatment
    • B) Increasing awareness about cervical cancer
    • C) Promoting HPV vaccination and screening
    • D) Enhancing healthcare infrastructure
    Answer: C) Promoting HPV vaccination and screening
  4. Who recommended the inclusion of the HPV vaccine in India’s Universal Immunization Programme?
    • A) WHO
    • B) Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP)
    • C) Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI)
    • D) Ministry of Health
    Answer: D) Ministry of Health
  5. What is FOGSI and IAP’s objective regarding HPV vaccination?
    • A) To promote awareness only
    • B) To create HPV physician champions
    • C) To conduct research on cervical cancer
    • D) To provide free vaccination to all women
    Answer: B) To create HPV physician champions