India Has Highest Number of Cervical Cancer Cases in Asia, Finds Lancet Study

Of the total number of deaths due to cervical cancer, 23 percent were in India, and 17 percent in China.

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India has the highest number of cervical cancer cases in Asia, followed by China, according to a latest Lancet study on the disease. According to the research, of the total number of deaths due to cervical cancer, 23 percent were in India, and 17 percent in China.

Why this matters: Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women in the world, and the second most common in India.

The big numbers: In 2020,

  • There were 6,04,127 new cases of cervical cancer

  • 3,41,831 deaths occurred due to the disease

  • 21 percent of the total cases were in India

  • 58 percent of all cases of cervical cancer globally were from Asia

  • Only 10 percent of the cases were in Europe and Latin America



India is also in the list of countries where steep decrease in incidence of cervical cancer has been observed. This could be attributed to multiple factors, including declines in fertility rates and lower parity, or improvement in the coverage of screening programs and access to treatment services especially in the urban population.

The big picture: The Lancet study comes a day after Dr NK Arora, chairperson of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), told The Indian Express that India is gearing up for a nationwide immunisation drive for girls in the age group of 9-14 years.

What next?: The immunisation drive is likely to begin by mid-2023, as the indigenously developed HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer is scheduled to become available by April-May next year.

The quadrivalent vaccine is called Cervavac, and has been developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

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