Early screening key to cure cervical, breast cancer: experts

Pune: As per the National Health Survey (NHS), only 3.8 per cent women between the ages of 30-49 years in Pune district have undergone screening for cervical cancer. The figure for breast cancer screening in the district for the same age group is 2.3 per cent. Experts note that early screening and detection is vital in reducing the mortality rate for cancer.

Speaking about breast and cervical cancer, Pune-based surgical oncologist Dr Snita Sinukumar said that early cervical and breast cancer detection help patients to beat the ailment.

“If a patient comes to us at advanced stages, the treatment modality is chemotherapy and radiation. We advise that every woman above the age of 21 years should get screened for cervical cancer. As cervical cancer has a higher rate of mortality, early detection definitely helps. At early stages we can offer a cure to the patients,” said Dr Sinukumar.

She emphasised that screening is an important tool.

“The whole idea of screening is to test healthy individuals. Routine health check-ups only help identify any abnormalities in the report,” said Dr Sinukumar.

She said that breast cancer has a lower mortality as there are a variety of treatment modalities for it.

Dr Rakesh Neve, surgical oncologist with city-based Columbia Asia hospital, said that breast cancer accounted for 31.4 per cent of all cancers in women in Pune and cervical cancer 10.6 per cent.

“The mortality rates for cancer remains high. For breast cancer, it is around 50 per cent and for cervical cancer, it is around 60 per cent. Early detection ensures diagnosis in stage one or two where cure rates are over 95 per cent,” said Dr Neve.

He said that screening helps identify cancers early and early detection gives possibility of cure.

“So, it is important to ensure screening covers maximum population,” said Dr Neve.

As per NHS, women undergoing screening for cervical cancer is as low as 2.3 per cent in Maharashtra. The screening for breast cancer is also on a lower end with only 1.3 per cent women undergoing screening.

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