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Indian Journal of Medical and Paediatric Oncology
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 37  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 278-285

Burden of cervical cancer and role of screening in India

Department of Medical Records, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh Bobdey
Department of Medical Records, Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Tata Memorial Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5851.195751

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Background: Cervical cancer is a major cause of cancer mortality in women and more than a quarter of its global burden is contributed by developing countries. In India, in spite of alarmingly high figures, there is no nationwide government-sponsored screening program. This study was conducted to assess the burden of cervical cancer in India and review the performance characteristics of available cervical cancer screening tools, so as to provide evidence-based recommendations for application of most practically suited screening test to be used in resource-poor field settings. Materials and Methods: MEDLINE and Web of Science electronic database were searched from January 1990 to December 2015, using the keywords such as “cervical cancer”, “screening”, “early detection”, “cervical cytology” and “visual inspection”, and their corresponding MeSH terms in combination with Boolean operators “OR, AND.” Two authors independently selected studies that are published in English and conducted in India. A total of 11 studies were found to be relevant and eligible to be included in the present study. Results: In India, cervical cancer contributes to approximately 6–29% of all cancers in women. The age-adjusted incidence rate of cervical cancer varies widely among registries; highest is 23.07/100,000 in Mizoram state and the lowest is 4.91/100,000 in Dibrugarh district. The pooled estimates of sensitivity and specificity of visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA), magnified VIA, visual inspection with Lugol's iodine (VILI), cytology (Pap smear), and human papillomavirus DNA were found to be 67.65% and 84.32%, 65.36% and 85.76%, 78.27% and 87.10%, 62.11% and 93.51%, and 77.81% and 91.54%, respectively. Conclusions: In developing countries because of lack of necessary infrastructure and quality control, high-quality cytology screening may not be feasible for wide-scale implementation. Hence, cervical cancer screening program based on visual screening test such as VIA/VILI should be adopted as an integral part of primary health-care setup in resource-poor countries like India.

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