Cervical cancer kills 1 Indian every 7 minutes


Lord of Penmai
Jul 5, 2011
Cervical cancer kills 1 Indian every 7 minutes

One woman dies every seven minutes of cervical cancer. Breast cancer claims one life every 10 minutes. In 2025, these cancers will kill one victim each in 4.6 and 6.2 minutes.

The figures and projections are for India by Globocan 2008, a software prepared by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The software is updated every few years to help public health officials to prepare a battle plan against cancer.

India clearly needs to fine-tune its anti-cancer strategies. In 2008, 72,825 women died of cervical cancer and 53,592 of breast cancer. There are region-wise nuances: while all-India statistics show that cervical cancer is the deadliest for women, breast cancer is the biggest worry in the metros.

"In villages, there is poor hygiene (especially genital), which explains the higher incidence of cervical cancer. But in cities, the incidence of breast cancer is increasing due to late pregnancy, shorter period of breastfeeding and, mainly, obesity. These factors are not present in villages," said Dr Rajan Badwe, director, Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH).

Experts say corrective steps can be taken to beat the projections. Devieka Bhojwani, vice-president, Women's Cancer Initiative of the TMH, said women today-even in rural areas-do not step back from getting themselves checked.

"Early detection is going up. Cervical cancer, because of better awareness about hygiene, is going down in rural India. Breast cancer rates in urban areas, however, are reaching alarming proportions," said Devieka.

With a vaccine available for cervical cancer, there is further hope. "Now that it has been introduced in India, cervical cancer can be avoided. The vaccine can be given to any girl in the age group of 10-26 years-before she starts sexual contact. The efficacy is more than 90%," said Dr Indu Ambulkar, consultant oncologist, Seven Hills Hospital.

"Cancer cure and survival rates are much better in women as compared to men. Slowly, we can score over cancer and there is nothing to be dreaded about the C-word anymore," Bhojwani said.

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