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Friday, April 19, 2024, 6:45 pm

Friday, April 19, 2024, 6:45 pm

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Lifestyle

National cervical cancer control scheme must be made accessible to all.

cervical cancer
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It is incorrect to view health as a one-dimensional concept because it is rarely that. In order to achieve the desired outcome, government policy in particular has to fully understand the problem and include a variety of viewpoints into a practical approach. The government intends to promote cervical cancer vaccine for girls between the ages of nine and fourteen, as announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman at the interim Budget presentation. This is undoubtedly a positive move. After the elections, the plan will be further developed, but in the meanwhile, it is appropriate to consider if any cervical cancer programme would be healthy if screening was not included. Cervical cancer, which literally translates to “neck of the womb,” is distinct from other cancers in that nearly all instances (99%, according to the World Health Organisation) are associated with infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus spread through intercourse. Persistent infection can result in cervical cancer, even though the majority of HPV infections clear up on their own and leave the women symptom-free. It is considered to be the second most common cancer among Indian women between the ages of 15 and 44, and it is the second biggest cause of cancer-related fatalities among women in India, accounting for about 77,000 deaths yearly. The availability of a vaccination is the good news, but results vary depending on the stage of detection, and the average national prevalence of cervical cancer screening is less than 2%.

Ironically, with only the human eye, diluted white vinegar, and a dab of Lugol’s iodine, cervical cancer may be detected with ease in a public health context. Known as VIA and VILI tests, they aid in the search for cancer and precancerous lesions well in advance of cytology’s ability to detect the illness at an advanced stage. The aberrant growth can then be destroyed by a quick, easy technique called cryotherapy, all while the patient is conscious. Cervical cancer is easily preventable, diagnosable, and treatable, thus it is unconscionable that so many women are losing their lives to the illness. In addition to requiring screening at the primary health care when the government launches its immunisation scheme, it should also immediately offer cryotherapy in the event that anomalies are discovered. In the short and medium term, it seems doubtful that immunising young girls on their own will have a significant effect. The implementation of the whole set of instruments as part of a national cervical cancer control strategy that is open to all women, regardless of their age, education level, affordability, or social standing, is the only way to stop the fatalities from occurring.

Abhishek Verma


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