(Spin Digit Editorial):- New Delhi, Delhi Jun 30, 2021 (Issuewire.com) – Today, Asia has more than half of the world’s burden of cervical cancer, one third of them from India. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among Indian women with 1.2 lakh women affected and more than half dying as these get detected in an advanced stage.
India has the privilege to host the largest-ever virtual world congress on cervical cancer in Asia from July 1st to 5th, 2021 on a virtual platform. Titled IFCPC 202one, the 17th World Congress for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy is being hosted in Asia for the first time. The hosts are the Indian Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ISCCP) and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vardhaman Mahaveer Medical College and Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi. The Congress’ theme “Eliminating Cervical Cancer – Call for Action” aims at developing strategies for elimination of this dreaded disease worldwide.
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The International Federation of Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy (IFCPC) has 45 member countries affiliated to it, including India. The Indian Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ISCCP) that is hosting this congress is committed to the Elimination of Cervical Cancer by 2030, as envisioned by the World Health Organization (WHO). Around 1,000 delegates from the member countries are registered for this congress. Faculty from the USA, UK, France, Poland, Netherlands, Australia, China, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, and Abu Dhabi are expected to deliberate on various issues related to the prevention of cervical cancer. Many workshops have been planned to train doctors and health personnel in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
As a lead-up to the World Congress, a consensus meeting was held on 25th June 2021 towards making a roadmap for the elimination of cervical cancer in India. The Chief Guest was Dr. (Smt) Tamilisai Soundarajan, Hon’ble Governor of Telangana and Hon’ble Lt. Governor of Puducherry who spoke on “Empowering Women for Cancer Prevention” and emphasized that women should prioritise their own health and get preventive vaccination, cancer screening, avoid smoking and tobacco to prevent cancer.
The broad consensus arrived at the end of the meeting was that the human papillomavirus test (HPV test) must be advocated as it is found to be the most effective screening test and has proven to reduce deaths due to cervical cancer commonly used cervical screening methods. With HPV testing, screening can be done only once in 10 years compared to the 3-5 yearly screening intervals for other tests. Dr. Partha Basu, the head of the Screening group at the International Agency for Research in Cancer at the WHO mentioned that the World Health Organization (WHO) is also expected to roll out their latest guidelines for screening and treatment soon with practical approaches for low and middle-income countries. During the Covid-19 pandemic, self-sampling by the women for screening has been recommended by the WHO and practiced in many countries as the woman need not visit a health facility to get her test done.
This congress is being held for the first time in Asia and expected to be beneficial for all the delegates from India and its neighboring countries. As per a report of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), the current prevalence of cervical cancer in India is 14 women with cervical cancer per lakh women. The Government of India has rolled out various screening programmes for the prevention of cervical cancer, which if detected and treated in early stage, can cure around 80% of women.
Over the years, developed nations such as the USA and UK have been able to bring down the numbers of cervical cancer cases drastically with their organized screening and vaccination programmes and protocols. The global experts attending the IFCPC 202one shall discuss the various strategies, and share their experiences in cervical cancer prevention which can be applied in our country.
The World Health Organization has given a call for Elimination of Cervical Cancer by 2030 as it is a disease which is completely preventable with Vaccination of 90% of adolescent girls, Screening of 70% of women at 35 & 45 years, and Treatment of 90% of pre-cancerous lesions detected. Many countries worldwide are planning their strategies towards this goal of 90:70:90.
The congress agenda includes single-dose vaccination, newer vaccines, and vaccination of boys being advocated in many countries. Single-visit approaches for screening and treatment with simple techniques with both screening and treatment being carried out in the same visit can hugely reduce the number of visits needed by the woman, so vital to prevent cancer during the pandemic.
The congress will also focus on Innovations in Cervical screening using Artificial Intelligence (AI) which can revolutionise screening in low-income countries with a shortage of trained personnel. Dr. James Bentley, the Immediate Past President and President of the IFCPC 202one Congress says “The energy that has been generated around this topic recently with the global introduction of HPV vaccination (perhaps even with one dose), appropriate use of an HPV screening test and improved follow up and treatment of abnormal screening tests promises to come together and over the next decade we should see a decrease in the global burden of HPV associated cervical disease.”
Dr. Neerja Bhatla, the Secretary General of IFCPC says “The last three years have perhaps been the most remarkable in the history of cervical cancer prevention, with the call from WHO for the elimination of cervical cancer as a public health problem galvanizing political support and bringing new zest and energy into finding better and more cost-effective ways to prevent, detect the screen and treat these cases. This period witnessed the introduction of HPV vaccination into the national programs of many more countries, including developing countries; also, a shift from cytological testing to molecular HPV-based testing is occurring surely and steadily in developed countries.”
Speaking about the Elimination goals, Dr. Carlos H. Perez, President of IFCPC said, “We recognize that many challenges still lie ahead. The ongoing pandemic has created obstacles for us all. We face a constraint on all activities and a challenge of economics, for both the medical and pharmaceutical industries. These hurdles impact all of our scientific societies. Despite the hardships, this is not the time to falter, we must work hard and continue on without respite.”
“We must work hand-in-hand with the World Health Organization on their mission to eliminate cervical cancer. We must aim to move beyond the statistical wishes and projections on paper, and show through our work as a scientific society that we unrestrictedly support all activities aimed to end cervical cancer. We start by doing this with education, and working together towards a successful World Congress with its exceptional 202one scientific program,” Dr. Perez further added.
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This article was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.