Fortis Foundation set a Guinness World Record for the highest number of cervical cancer screenings on 23 December 2012. Fortis Hospital at Vashi, Mumbai, screened over 751 women in an 8 hour marathon screening, as part of its ‘Teal To Heal Together’ campaign beating the earlier record of 350 participants held by Kaiser Permanente, San Diego (USA) achieved on the 29th of January 2011. The hospital left no stone unturned with more than 50 gynaecologists and oncologists working seamlessly and screening participants in more than 20 OPD rooms.
Speaking of the newly won Guinness World Records achieved by Fortis Foundation, Mr. Varun Khanna, Regional Director (East & West) ,Fortis Healthcare said, “Although cervical cancer ranks as the number one killer disease in India, it is breast cancer that has received utmost attention. Through the ‘Teal To Heal Together’ campaign, we aim to revolutionize the manner in which cervical cancer is perceived and prevented nationwide.”
Dr. Vandana Gawdi, Senior Consultant, Gynaecologist, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi a proponent of cervical cancer said, “Cervical cancer is both preventable and curable if detected at the HPV virus stage, Oncogenic HPV infection in Indian women varies in different locations. Studies have brought out certain demographic and other lifestyle factors on the development of abnormal cytology in Indian women. This justifies the need for screening women for cervical cancer including Oncogenic HPV testing (HPV infection among various Indian women).”
Cervical cancer in India accounts for one fifth of the cervical cancer prevalent globally. On a yearly basis over 1,30,000 new cases are detected and it is estimated the number of new cervical cancer cases in India will increase to nearly 2,26,000 by 2025. Due to the lack of awareness and social stigmata, the mortality rate among patients suffering from cervical cancer has risen from 74,118 reported deaths in 2002 to 2,70,000 reported deaths at present. Over 10% of all cancer deaths annually are accounted to cervical cancer. These mortality numbers can be partly attributed to the lack of awareness of the prevention techniques and the need for early detection through periodic health check-ups.
Improving the nutrition of the girl child, avoiding early marriage, a monogamist lifestyle, engaging in personal hygiene (to prevent HPV infections) and routine checks can prevent the occurrence of the disease to a great extent. For a developing country like India, as per the WHO norm, all women should get at-least one pap smear test undertaken before the age of 40 years and preferably at-least once in 3 years from the time of consummation of marriage or first sexual intercourse. If all the women between 35-65 years of age are screened at-least once in 2-3 years, the frequency of cervical cancer can be greatly reduced to 93%.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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