Delhi stands fourth with the highest percentage of cervical cancer prevalence among women, with 14.6 per cent women affected by this disease, said doctors at a conference on cervical cancer awareness and prevention.
Cervical cancer is a sexually transmitted disease with a cumulative risk of incidence in Indian women of 2.8 per cent compared to 1.6 per cent of the world.
“It is not necessary to have penetrative sex to get this disease. However, sexual contact among children now starts at a younger age making even girls vulnerable to the disease.
Even through body touch this disease can be transmitted,” said Jyotsna Govil, secretary, Indian Cancer Society, Delhi.On the positive side, this is the only cancer which is preventable.
“There are three elements which will help us prevent this cancer among women — education in terms of awareness and screening, including different body tests and vaccination,” said Monica Chowdhary from MSD India, a healthcare provider.
Indian Cancer Society and MSD is organising a walk for awareness and prevention of cervical cancer in Delhi on November 4. It will start from Tagore International School in East of Kailash leading to nearby places like Amar Colony and slum areas.
According to official statistics, close to 72,800 women die due to cervical cancer in the country. It is most frequent among women between 15-44 years. The incidence rate rises in the age group of 30-34 years and peaks at 55-65 years.
Approximately eight women in India are dying every hour due to this cancer.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is used to prevent and cure this cancer here. “It is easily available.
But the trend in Delhi is that cases are declining but not so much as compared to breast cancer,” said Dr Narendra Pathak.
Since the vaccine costs Rs 2,800 per dose, it becomes difficult for women from financially weaker background to afford it.
“We are open to working with the government to help even the marginalised population get access to the vaccine. There are no national screening and vaccination programmes for cervical cancer in the country yet,” added Chowdhary.