District Governor - Rtn. Manjoo Phadke
Editor - Rtn. Madhur Dolare

Efforts to Combat Cervical Cancer: Vaccination and Screening Initiatives in India and Global Targets for Elimination Back

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally, with an estimated 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths in 2020. In India, Cancer of the Cervix Uteri is the 3rd most common cancer, with an incidence rate of 18.3% (123,907 cases) and the second leading cause of death. Cervical cancer is caused by persistent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). Persistent infection with high-risk HPV can cause abnormal cells to develop, which go on to become cancer.

As a priority, HPV vaccines should be given to all girls aged 9–14 years. The vaccine is given in 2 doses. People with reduced immune systems should ideally receive 3 doses. Women should be screened for cervical cancer every 5–10 years starting at age 30. Women living with HIV should be screened every 3 years starting at age 25. The global strategy encourages a minimum of two lifetime screens with a high-performance HPV test by age 35 and again by age 45 years. Pre-cancers rarely cause symptoms, which is why regular cervical cancer screening is important, even if you have been vaccinated against HPV.

WHO Response: All countries have made a commitment to eliminate cervical cancer as a public health problem. The WHO Global strategy defines elimination as reducing the number of new cases annually to 4 or fewer per 100,000 women and sets three targets to be achieved by the year 2030 to put all countries on the pathway to elimination in the coming decades:

  • 90% of girls vaccinated with the HPV vaccine by age 15
  • 70% of women screened with a high-quality test by ages 35 and 45
  • 90% of women with cervical disease receiving treatment. Modelling estimates that 74 million new cases of cervical cancer can be averted, and 62 million deaths can be avoided by reaching this elimination goal.

As part of this ELIMINATION GOAL, ROTARY CLUB OF KHARGHAR MIDTOWN held a project on the 10th of FEB 2024 to vaccinate underprivileged girl children aged between 9-14 years at ZP School - MURBI village, KHARGHAR. Fifty girl children were given the HPV vaccine with prior consent from the parents. Four pediatricians, DR CHITRA KULKARNI, DR AMOGH SHAHANE, DR SWATI LIKHITE, DR SUNITA INGLE, members of the INDIAN ASSOCIATION OF PEDIATRICS, and one dermatologist, DR KOMAL GUNDEWAR, from the club administered the vaccine. The vaccine (CERVAVAC) was procured from the Serum Institute of India at a subsidized rate. After vaccination, all the children were given refreshments and were observed for half an hour before being allowed to go home. The second dose of the vaccine will be given after 6 months.