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India among few developing countries to have national cancer control programme: Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

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New Delhi, July 02: India is one of the few developing countries that have formulated a national cancer control programme, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said. In his virtual address at the inaugural session of the 17th World Congress for Cervical Pathology and Colposcopy on Thursday, Vardhan highlighted that many women are suffering and dying of cervical cancer despite the fact that it is one of the most successfully treatable forms of cancer as long as it is detected early and managed effectively.

harsh vardhan

Vardhan congratulated the Indian Society of Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology for pioneering training in colposcopy and treatment of precancerous lesions of the cervix and for bringing the prestigious world congress for the first time to Asia, according to an official statement said.

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The theme of the congress -- "Eliminating Cervical Cancer: Call for Action" -- is aligned to the WHO call for Elimination of Cervical Cancer by 2030, he stated. Speaking on the topic of cervical cancer, Vardhan said it is the fourth most common cancer in women.

"It is tragic that one woman dies of cervical cancer every two minutes, making it one of the greatest threats to women's health. The sad part is that our women are suffering and dying despite the fact that when diagnosed cervical cancer is one of the most successfully treatable forms of cancer, as long as it is detected early and managed effectively," he was quoted as saying in the statement.

"Cancers diagnosed in late stages can also be controlled with appropriate treatment and palliative care. With a comprehensive approach to prevent, screen and treat, cervical cancer can be eliminated as a public health problem within a generation," he said.

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Vardhan also highlighted the crucial role undertaken by India to stop cervical cancer heeding to WHO's 2030 target. "I can proudly state that India is one of the few developing countries that have formulated the national cancer control programme. As a leader in Asia, in 2016, we have launched the operational guidelines for screening of common cancers -- cervical, breast, oral. India along with 194 other countries has collectively resolved to work together for elimination of this major killer...," he said.

The minister explained how the government is offering intervention to end cancer through the two wings of the Ayushman Bharat programme. "We all know that effective primary HPV vaccination and secondary prevention approaches can prevent most cervical cancer cases. Today, India is strengthening all levels of cancer care.

"Treatment of cancer and precancerous lesions is being made accessible to the economically vulnerable population through our Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. Our primary health centres have now been transformed into wellness centres where screening is being undertaken on a massive scale," he said.

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