Cervical Cancer Vaccine Heads for India
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06 September 2008
By Anuradha Mascarenhas
Already tried out in US, India launch by November
Vaccine A vaccine that can stall the onset of cervical cancer, the second most common form of cancer among women in India, will be introduced in the country by November this year, experts told The Indian Express on the eve of the International Conference on Cancer. The two–day conference will get under way in Pune from Saturday.
Swati Bhave, member of the Apollo Hospital consultant committee for Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPV), said that the vaccine will be launched by November. It has already been in use in the US for two years.
More than 130,000 new cases, about a fourth of the global total, of cervical cancer cases are reported in India every year, with only breast cancer having a higher incidence. An estimated 74,000 Indian women die annually from the disease.
While the country’s National Cancer Control Programme has emphasised the importance of early detection and treatment, there is no organised screening programme and the disease is usually detected and treated at a late stage.
A vaccine would help stop women from falling prey to the disease, said Sanjay Deshmukh, organising chairman of the cancer meet.
The HP virus, which causes 70 per cent of cervical cancer cases, is transmitted through sexual contact, especially in cases where there is poor personal hygiene. Cervical cancer is the cancer of the mouth of the uterus called cervix.
All sexually active women are at risk of contracting this disease. But it is seen mostly in woman aged between 50 and 55. If detected at a pre–cancerous stage, it is 100 per cent curable.
Ruby Hall Clinic’s Kamalnayan Bajaj Cancer Centre will conduct the conference. A pre–conference live surgical workshop was held today, during which advanced surgical procedures were performed at Ruby Hall operation theatres and relayed simultaneously. Tata Memorial Center–Mumbai Director K A Dinshaw will inaugurate the conference.